According to reports, Chelsea forward Eden Hazard will look to leave the club if the Blues fail to qualify for the Champions League next season. The Blues missed out on the continental tournament this season after finishing a lowly 10th last season.
Real Madrid and Juventus have been keeping tabs on the Belgian winger and could look to sign him next summer should Chelsea fail to finish in the top four. Antonio Conte's side are currently sitting in seventh place after seven games after two consecutive league losses to Liverpool and Arsenal saw them slide down the table.
Real boss Zinedine Zidane is said to be a huge admirer of Hazard but his hands are tied with FIFA banning Real Madrid from signing players until January 2018. It leaves Juventus in the driving seat but Paris Saint-Germain may also have a say considering their resources to sign players for big money.
The Blues had a disastrous season in 2015/16 as defending champions. In what was Jose Mourinho’s third season, the London club won only 12 of the 38 games. Mourinho was sacked by December and Guus Hiddink came in as an interim boss for a second time. The Dutch boss managed to steady the ship but the damage was already done in the first five months of the season.
Hazard himself did not have the best of seasons. After winning the PFA Player of the Year in the Blues’ title-winning season, Hazard failed to make an impact and did not score his first Premier League goal until April. He ended the season with only 4 goals and 3 assists – a stark contrast to the 14 goals and 9 assists he grabbed the previous season.
Hazard moved to Chelsea because of Champions League win in 2012
The 25-year-old Belgian had arrived at the London club the summer immediately after they won the Champions League for a fee of approximately £32m. He was hot property in Europe thanks to his performances with Ligue 1 club Lille where he scored 20 goals and grabbed 16 assists even though the club failed to defend their Ligue 1 title.
Clubs had lined up for his signature and he eventually chose to join Chelsea, even tweeting about his decision via his official account.
But apparently, the player now has second thoughts about staying at Chelsea. Since the time he signed for the club, he has seen five different managers take charge in the last four years. Both Roberto Di Matteo and Jose Mourinho were sacked while Rafa Benitez and Hiddink were stopgap replacements only to see out the rest of the respective season.
Now, under Antonio Conte, Hazard seems to have rekindled his form but has been criticised for not tracking back and helping out in defence. It was a major turning point in the 3-0 loss to Arsenal as his failure to defend saw Gunners right-back Hector Bellerin play an important role in the win with a crucial assist.
Ironically, Hazard’s criticism of the Chelsea defence has not exactly won him any favours. “We came to win the match but we made mistakes, for the first goal, another for the second and then before we knew it we were already 3-0 down,” Hazard had said.