In Brief

Chelsea transfer news: Eden Hazard, Zinedine Zidane, N’Golo Kante

Could PSG star Neymar ruin Hazard’s dream move to Real Madrid?

Mystery surrounds Real and Hazard

Eden Hazard’s dream of joining Real Madrid could be about to bite the dust because of the Spanish club’s interest in Neymar.

The Sunday Times claims that Real “have set their sights” on signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain this summer and they are “confident” they can prise the Brazil international from the French capital.

The 27-year-old left Barcelona for PSG in the summer of 2017 for a world-record fee believed to be close to £200m, but he’s failed to fire in France and rumours suggest he is desperate to return to Spain.

The ST even goes so far as to state that Neymar has “encouraged Madrid’s interest” and if a move is agreed at the end of this season he will see his current net salary rocket by more than £25m a year.

It’s a sign of how desperate Real are to overhaul their struggling squad, who suffered another humiliating defeat in La Liga, this time 2-1 at home to relegation-threatened Girona.

PSG are apparently open to offers because of Neymar’s injury problems and also the pressure to meet Uefa Financial Fair Play regulations. But such a move, says the ST, has implications for Chelsea ace Hazard.

It’s no secret that the Belgian playmaker is eyeing a move to Real but the “vast financial outlay involved in signing Neymar reduces the likelihood of the Spanish club meeting Chelsea’s valuation of their star man”.

Zidane the man

If Real do snub Hazard it’s expected that the 28-year-old will succumb to Chelsea’s advances and sign a new contract that the ST describes as the most “lucrative” in the club’s history.

What may well persuade Hazard to pen a new deal is the claim in The Sun that one of Zinedine Zidane’s conditions for replacing Maurizio Sarri as manager is the retention of the Belgian.

The French legend also wants a £200m transfer kitty for the summer and if the Blues meet his requests then Zidane is expected to take over from Sarri at the end of the season.

Then again...

If Hazard needs cheering up after reading the Sunday Times’ report, he should turn to the Daily Express, because they claim that not only are Real Madrid still set on signing him in the summer, but they are also after Chelsea teammate N’Golo Kante.

Apparently the French midfielder “is considering his future because he isn’t enjoying life under Maurizio Sarri”.

The Italian gaffer has forced Kante into a box-to-box role when he prefers playing as a defensive midfielder, and that’s why he might leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, despite the fact he’s taking home £290,000 a week.

The Express says Real Madrid are ready to table an offer for Kante, but to further muddy the waters, the paper adds that PSG are also circling, presumably as they look to spend the money they will make selling Neymar to the Spanish club.

Cup clash

Tonight FA Cup holders Chelsea host Manchester United in a fifth-round tie at Stamford Bridge. The cup clash, a re-run of the 2018 final, kicks off at 7.30pm and is live on BBC One.

Hazard scored the winner from the penalty spot when Chelsea beat United 1-0 at Wembley Stadium last May.

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