With a transfer ban looming over the Blue side of London, speculation regarding Eden Hazard continues to intensify as the 18/19 season draws to an end. Maurizio Sarri is surely reluctant to let the talismanic Belgian leave the club but with Christian Pulisic arriving in the summer and Callum Hudson-Odoi desperate for first team football, is it time for Chelsea to move on from their star man?
Eden Hazard has made no secret of his desire to play under Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu and with the Frenchman likely to oversee a large turnover of playing staff in the summer, Hazard appears to be one of the most likely men to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo after the 17/18 season. Both Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have also been mentioned although both of these players would likely demand world record transfer fees and wages to move to Madrid. On the other hand, Eden Hazard’s contract with Chelsea expires in the summer of 2020. Therefore, the upcoming transfer window is likely to be the Blues last chance to sell the Belgian for a considerable fee unless they can commit him to a new contract.
If current speculation is to be believed, Real Madrid are looking to spend no more than £80m for Hazard whilst Chelsea are holding out for £100m. Conversely, our calculations show that his market value is just £31.54m. This value is relatively low due to either club being unlikely to receive significant resale value for the Belgian. However, as always, this fee does not consider a player’s form, ability or marketability.
On the face of things, this deal looks like it may be one that would satisfy both parties. Real Madrid get one of the best players in the world to rejuvenate their squad whilst Chelsea get a considerable fee for a player who appears unwilling to sign a new deal with the club. However, the transfer ban at Stamford Bridge may further complicate this.
Callum Hudson-Odoi tried to force a move through to Bayern Munich in the recent January transfer window although this was blocked by the club. If Hudson-Odoi remains unhappy at Chelsea, then we may see a repeat of this story in the summer. Both Pedro and Willian have also seen rumoured interest for their services and with both players also out of contract in the summer of 2020, Chelsea could easily be left with Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic as the only wingers contracted to the club.
One solution could be to turn the club’s extensive loan system which contains players such as Nathan, Musonda and Piazon who could potentially fill these places in the squad. However, Chelsea have demonstrated in recent years that their loan system is designed to produce profit for the club, not develop first-team players.
In recent weeks, Chelsea (alongside a host of other Premier League clubs including Liverpool) have reported interest in Lille’s Nicolas Pepe as an identified replacement for Eden Hazard. This would indicate that Pulisic was instead signed to replace a potentially outgoing Pedro/Willian. However, if Chelsea’s transfer ban is upheld, they are likely to only allow one winger to leave the club in order to retain squad depth.
With Hazard undoubtedly Chelsea’s most important player, replacing him would be key in the clubs pursuit for Champions League football next season. Therefore, if Chelsea’s transfer ban is upheld, it appears more likely that Pedro or Willian is moved on, with Hazard kept at the club for the 19/20 season before leaving the club on a free transfer.