Chelsea will demand upwards of £100 million if Eden Hazard tells the club he wants to join Real Madrid – even though he will only have one year remaining on his contract at the end of the season.
Hazard hopes to find out whether or not Real will make a big bid to sign him in the summer by the end of this month, with Chelsea also keen to get the issue resolved.
Despite the forward claiming he is prepared to wait until the end of the season before deciding whether or not to sign a new contract with Chelsea, both parties favour an earlier resolution.
Head coach Maurizio Sarri last month insisted it is time for a decision to be made over Hazard’s future and Chelsea have already started planning for both scenarios.
Should Hazard get the assurances he wants from Real and tell Chelsea that he wants to leave, then the Blues will warn the Spaniards that they will not land the Belgian for a bargain fee.
Even though he celebrated his 28th birthday last week and will only have 12 months remaining on his contract in the summer, Chelsea value Hazard over £100m.
Chelsea this month agreed to pay £58m for Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic, who would have only had a year left on his contract by the time he moves to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
The Blues are adamant that, having proved himself to be one of the best players in the world, Hazard is worth more than double what they paid for Pulisic.
Real are considering bidding for both Hazard and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen to replace Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, but they will need to pay big money to get either man.
Chelsea’s valuation of Hazard may provide a problem for Real, who do not have huge cash reserves available for transfers, but Mateo Kovacic could help to bring down the outlay for the forward.
Midfielder Kovacic is on loan with the Blues this season and he will be allowed to make a permanent move in the summer should Sarri decide he wants him.
Whether he is included in as part of a Hazard bid or a transfer is negotiated separately, Real will hope that Kovacic can help them cover the cost of any deal for Chelsea’s star man.
Despite the fact they are trying to sign a striker and a midfielder this month, Hazard’s future remains Cheslea’s number one priority.
The Blues hope to find out later this week whether they can make progress on a deal to sign Gonzalo Higuain, which would allow Alvaro Morata to leave the club. Sevilla have ruled themselves out of the running for Morata, but Atletico Madrid remain interested.
Chelsea are still trying to secure a midfield replacement for Cesc Fabregas, with Zenit St Petersburg’s Leandro Paredes emerging as the favourite after Cagliari claimed they are intent on keeping Nicolo Barella until the end of the season.