Eden Hazard could sensationally quit Chelsea this summer – not for Real Madrid, but LaLiga rivals Barcelona for around £80million, according to reports.
The 27-year-old has two years remaining on his current contract with Chelsea and has not yet committed to a new deal.
Hazard has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, as his relationship with manager Antonio Conte deteriorated beyond repair. Chelsea’s decision to only sack the Italian on Thursday and replace him with Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri as the Blues muddled through pre-season looks to have come too late to change his mind.
The Belgian has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid for sometime, and he suggested this week a move to the Bernabeu was still on the cards.
“Zidane is someone special it’s true, but I think Real is everyone’s dream,” he told beIN Sports.
“Zidane or no Zidane, the white jersey [of Real] is special but the blue jersey suits me well so it does not bother me if I stay.”
But according to Sport, the Belgium international is now one of Barcelona’s priority targets and the club made their first approach to Hazard’s representatives last week.
The Catalan giants want more attacking firepower after missing out on Antoine Griezmann who, after a lengthy transfer saga, chose to stay at Atletico Madrid.
The report claims that Barcelona have been informed by Hazard’s camp that the forward is looking to leave Stamford Bridge in order to further his career and win more titles.
Real Madrid aren’t giving up meanwhile, and with Cristiano Ronaldo sensationally leaving to pursue a new challenge with Juventus for a £88million this week, new boss Julen Lopetegui has a free place in the team and the cash to sign Hazard.
Hazard is on their four-man wishlist but, up until now, looked the most easily-attainable of all the players on it.
PSG are highly unlikely to sell Neymar or Kylian Mbappe just a year after they both moved to Paris. That leaves Tottenham’s Harry Kane, but he has just signed a club-record five-year contract to stay at Spurs, and won’t be easy to tempt away from his boyhood club.
Barcelona’s new technical secretary Eric Abidal declined to comment on the rumours today at new signing Arthur Melo’s unveiling.
“We do not talk about players that aren’t ours,” he said.
“This question has to be directed to the player, as, when we sign someone, you will be the first to know when we are.”