Real Madrid have launched ‘Operation Eden Hazard’, but it will take a world-record fee for them to have any chance of signing the Chelsea star.
The fight is on to secure Hazard’s long-term future, with the Blues aware of the Spanish giants’ intention to make him their next Galactico.
It remains to be seen whether Chelsea’s resolve to keep the Belgian will weaken if an offer above the world record £89.3million Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba is tabled.
The £100m barrier is likely to be broken for the first time if and when Real come calling.
To secure the former Premier League Player of the Year, Real Madrid are willing to end their ‘BBC’ forward-line to fit him into the team.
Benzema, Bale and Cristiano have reigned supreme for the last three seasons delivering two Champions Leagues in the process but there are three good reasons why Madrid feel they need another star attacker and why they need him on the pitch not on the bench where James Rodriguez has spent most of the season.
It’s been three seasons since the club signed a player worthy of the Galatico tag and Florentino Perez is starting to lose his king of the transfer market crown. The club did so little in the transfer market last year they actually made a net profit.
It’s an election year and although Perez will almost definitely win without serious opposition, he could still do with a sweetener to keep supporters believing.
And thirdly Ronaldo is 32 and despite the enduring brilliance the days of him justifying playing every minute of every game are gone. With Hazard at the tip of a midfield diamond, flanked by Luka Modric and Toni Kroos and backed-up by holder Casemiro there will be room for two forwards.
Bale, and more often than not Benzema or Ronaldo, will rotate. The former’s injury record means he needs the occasional rest games anyway. Benzema has already started getting used to sitting games out; and that is also the future for Ronaldo.
To help with the overcrowding up-front, Real are said to be willing to sell j=James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata. The latter was on Antonio Conte’s wishlist last summer and he wants him signed regardless of what happens with Hazard and Diego Costa.
Rodriguez will also be offered to Chelsea and as like for like swaps go, he fits the bill. Although Hazard will cost Real Madrid more than Rodriguez because the Belgian currently thrives while the Colombian has lost his way.
Thibaut Courtois could be the fourth name in Madrid and Chelsea’s swap-shop this summer. Real Madrid will definitely buy a new goalkeeper at the end of the season and there is a reluctance to go back in for David de Gea whose signing was so spectacularly botched two years ago.
Courtois has spoken privately about Madrid’s interest in him and has said in the past that he would gladly return to the Spanish capital where he spent three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid.
The one wrench in this is the sudden arrival of Monaco star Kylian Mbappe onto the scene. President Perez has never been able to resist the latest shiniest toy and Mbappe is the flavor of the month at the moment. But Zidane prefers Hazard over Mbappe. So who will win the internal battle at Real Madrid? The manager or the President?