Eden Hazard’s resolve to move to Real Madrid at the end of the season has been strengthened by Zinedine Zidane’s reappointment as manager at the Bernabéu, with Real having finally formalised their pursuit of the Belgium captain.
Real firmed up interest in Hazard just before confirming Zidane’s return, with an opening proposal understood to have been lodged with Chelsea. The 28-year-old will have a year of his contract to run in the summer and has given no indication he would be willing to sign improved terms at Chelsea, worth £300,000 a week.
Hazard’s reluctance will force Chelsea’s hand over a sale, though negotiations could still prove protracted given they will seek around £100m for the forward who cost £32m from Lille in 2012.
Chelsea’s recruitment plans are in limbo as they wait for Fifa’s appeal committee to rule on the two-window transfer ban for breaches relating to the recruitment of minors. The case is expected to be heard before the summer, giving the club time, if the appeal is rejected, to seek an interim ruling at the court of arbitration for sport to allow them to continue trading until Cas’s judgment is passed.
Some agents of players have been told all decisions have been put on hold while the club discuss options on the Fifa sanction with lawyers. That scenario is unlikely to apply to Hazard given Chelsea would not countenance the possibility of him running down his contract and leaving on a free transfer in 2020.
Hazard’s admiration for Zidane is well established and his desire to play for Real is also long-standing, with Chelsea having fended off informal interest in each of the past three years.