Antonio Conte has admitted it is “impossible” for him to guarantee that Eden Hazard will stay at Stamford Bridge this summer, claiming the decision rests with his Chelsea bosses and the player.
But he insists the final decision on Hazard, who is set to be offered a new contract at the end of the season, will not be his.
“I think that it’s impossible for me to take this responsibility, not only for Eden but for every single player,” said Conte. “In this situation, it’s the club who have the final decision. I can say my opinion about this situation, but I repeat: the club has the final word.”
Asked whether Chelsea could achieve what he wants if they sell Hazard, Conte was more encouraging and added: “I don’t think that this idea is in the mind of the club. I think we have to improve the team, to reinforce the team.
“You know that, in football, there is also the will of the player. But I think also Eden is very happy to stay in Chelsea, to stay with us and work with us. I can tell this. But the future... I haven’t a crystal ball.
“I think Eden is very happy to stay and play for this team, for this club. I think his family is very happy to stay here. The fans love him and I think there are a lot of positive things that bring him to stay here and to try to reach the best with this club. Don’t forget, the target of this club is to try to win in every competition we play in.”
Hazard has been in superb form this season as Chelsea attempt to close out the Premier League title race. Four points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, they face what looks to be the toughest of their final five fixtures away at Everton tomorrow.
Tottenham entertain Arsenal straight after Chelsea’s game at Goodison Park and Conte said: “It’s important to look at ourselves and then to face it game by game, go step by step. On Sunday, for sure, we have a very strong step.”