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Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has said he will wait to see what steps the club take in terms of recruitment this summer before he agrees a new contract.
The Belgium international has until 2020 to run on his current deal at Stamford Bridge, but with the Blues out of the UEFA Champions League next season, speculation will gather pace regarding a potential transfer.
Hazard has said he is happy at Chelsea as things stand, although he did add that getting the right players in would have an impact on his decision, per Sky Sports’ Rory O’Callaghan.
“I’m waiting for new players next season,” he said, when asked what would convince him to commit his future to Chelsea. “I want good players because I want to win next season the Premier League. … That’s why I’m taking my time. It’s something big. I need to think about a lot of things. One thing I’m sure is that I’m happy here.”
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As noted by Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror, the former Lille man is said to be attracting interest from European champions Real Madrid.
The season has been a disappointing one for Chelsea despite the fact that they are to feature in the FA Cup final against Manchester United on Saturday. In the Premier League they were unable to mount a major defence of their title, slumping to fifth position in the top flight.
Per commentator Ian Darke after the Blues lost 3-0 at Newcastle United on Sunday, it’s been a peculiar 2017-18 for manager Antonio Conte and his team:
Ian Darke @IanDarke
Mauling at Newcastle hardly ideal prep for FA Cup Final for Chelsea. Haven’t deserved top 4 finish in strange season.
Hazard has also had his ups and downs this year. While there’s no doubt he hasn’t reached the heights he did in 2016-17, the campaign has still been laced with moments of brilliance.
The Chelsea No. 10 has operated in a number of different roles, whether that be as a wide forward, at the point of the attack or as a split striker. Regardless, when he is in form he can have an influence on games with his close control and burst of speed.
As noted by Liam Twomey of ESPN FC during a man-of-the-match performance from Hazard against Liverpool, he’s also stronger than many realise:
Liam Twomey @liam_twomey
Hazard’s backside just withstood the entire weight of a charging Van Dijk. Core strength is one of his more underrated attributes #cfc #lfc
As noted by Sky Sports Statto, only a pair of Chelsea legends have netted more than him in the Premier League era:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Eden Hazard has scored 69 PL goals for @ChelseaFC, equalling Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s tally for the club.
Only Lampard & Drogba have scored more PL goals for Chelsea #PL https://t.co/47cZgY16UU
Chelsea’s recruitment was disappointing after winning the title. Alvaro Morata has been inconsistent following a big-money move from Real Madrid, while the jury remains out on the likes of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater, Antonio Rudiger, Davide Zappacosta and Ross Barkley.
With no Champions League football to offer potential new recruits this summer, getting elite players through the door at Chelsea is going to be a challenge. And if Madrid come calling for Hazard, they would represent a tempting proposition for the 27-year-old.