Eden Hazard playing waiting game in possible Real Madrid transfer

Author: DUNCAN CASTLESMon, 2018-01-15 21:09ID: 1516035611192544000LONDON: Before the year is out Real Madrid will complete one of the most expensive transfers in the history of the game. Eden Hazard is waiting to see if he will be part of it.
After a gilded run of three Champions League triumphs in four years, Madrid are floundering. Nineteen points adrift of Barcelona, eight behind third-placed Valencia, as La Liga nears the halfway mark, Florentino Perez knows the Spanish title has gone. And that his club’s hyperdemanding supporters want change.
Perez’s presidency, the economic model with which he has governed Europe’s most successful club, has always had Galactico transfers as its axis. Last year, Paris Saint-Germain outmuscled him for two signatures — the long-desired one of Neymar and the man-of-the-moment recruitment of Kylian Mbappe. This year there will be at least one landmark deal come what may.
Part of the Madrid method is to line up their men early. The footballers Perez sees as potentially superstellar are made aware of the president’s interest and sounded out as to their willingness to push for a transfer should Los Merengues press the bidding button. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, David De Gea, Neymar and Mbappe could all explain the process.
Chelsea’s most important forward, the English Premier League’s Player of the Year in 2015, has been on the long list for several seasons now.
Madrid officials have met Hazard in person and explained that a club he has dreamt of representing views him as an heir-apparent to Cristiano Ronaldo. Their current coach, Zinedine Zidane, has Hazard’s mobile number.
Those who know the Belgian well will tell you that Hazard neither hides neither his interest in playing for Madrid, nor his queries over whether those approaches will ever translate into a formal offer. His club and national team-mate Thibaut Courtois has spent time in the same boat, sounded out and chatted up by Perez’s recruitment team, yet made to wait.
Chelsea are aware of Hazard’s circumstances and realize the situation is essentially beyond their control. Twenty-seven last week, Hazard is the London club’s best-paid player. If he wants it there is a proposal to extend a contract that expires in two summers’ time, hiking his wages to around £300,000 ($413,000) per week.
If Madrid move for the player, Chelsea expect Hazard to ask to leave. And they know Madrid have the financial firepower to pay a transfer fee that a bottom-line conscious club preparing to rebuild its stadium at vast expense would find extremely hard to turn down.
A further concern is the timing. Antonio Conte wants out of Stamford Bridge and has been looking for his next job since before this season began — so Chelsea know they are about to lose a popular Premier League-winning manager. To lose your most creative footballer in the same summer would be a major public relations problem.
Add to that the need to tie Courtois down to a new deal or see one of the club’s other world-class talents leave under freedom of contract at the end of the 2018-19 campaign and you get a sense of some of the issues preoccupying Marina Granovskaia. Little wonder that Chelsea’s key executive has offered Courtois a new contract that would take the goalkeeper’s annual salary to £10 million, almost double his current terms.
If the story of a leading Premier League club waiting on Madrid to act in the transfer market is a familiar one, not everything is entirely in Perez’s control. The reassertion of PSG and Manchester City’s state-financed muscle has made his pursuit of the game’s most glamorous figures more multi-dimensional than ever before. (Both Qatar and Abu Dhabi-owned clubs contributed the abrasive inflation on Mbappe’s €180 million ($220 million) move from AS Monaco.)
Just as Lionel Messi exploited approaches from the same two clubs to extract football’s richest ever contract from Barcelona, so Ronaldo has his own hand to play at Madrid. Perez must decide whether to allow the club’s most successful footballer to leave for PSG or Manchester United (and deal with the dangerous repercussions if selling the Portuguese proves a mistake), or to meet Ronaldo’s demands for financial terms
superior to Messi’s.
Should Perez decline to risk censure over selling Ronaldo, expect Hazard to renew at Chelsea. If Madrid’s president gambles on selling a man who stockpiles Ballon d’Or, the little Belgian may finally go galactic.
Main category: SportsTags: footballsoccerEden Hazardreal madridChelseaEPLPremier leaguerelated_nodes: Hazard sparkles in Chelsea’s 3-1 win over ArsenalUnder pressure Antonio Conte refuses to commit to ChelseaReal Madrid president must back Zidane to turn it around at the Bernabeu

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