Chelsea’s former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata does not believe Eden Hazard will agitate for a move to the Spanish capital, despite the forward casting fresh doubt on his future.
In-form forward Hazard has spoken of his daily quandary over whether to stick with Chelsea, the club he joined in June 2012, or seek to fulfil his dream of playing for Real Madrid.
Two key Chelsea players have departed for the Spanish capital in the last two years: Diego Costa for Atletico Madrid in October 2017 and Thibaut Courtois for Real in July 2018.
Both players made clear their desire to leave Stamford Bridge, but Morata does not anticipate Hazard forcing the issue.
He may not have to. Spanish station SER reported that Madrid are ready to make a January move for Hazard, whose contract expires at the end of next season.
Morata, who joined Chelsea from Real in July 2017, told Spanish broadcaster Cuatro, according to AS: “We’ve said that it’s not that he wants to leave Chelsea but if Madrid come in for him, that won’t be an obstacle.
“The thing is that he has a very good relationship with the club, he’s happy there and it’s not like other cases when a player wants to leave a club at any cost, but if it’s good for Chelsea they will keep that in mind.”
Hazard’s current contract, signed in February 2015, ends in June 2020. The offer of an extension is yet to be taken up, with Hazard pondering his options.
The 27-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Madrid after helping Belgium finish third at the World Cup.
His sensational form for Maurizio Sarri’s side, topping the Premier League scoring charts with seven goals, has revived the link.
And after Sunday’s win at Southampton, Hazard revealed he is torn between signing a new deal in west London and a move to Madrid.
How the situation develops is up to Hazard, who does not have an agent.
There are many potential obstacles to a move, not least the agreement of a fee – with Chelsea likely to seek a sizeable sum if they are prepared to negotiate at all.
If no contract extension is agreed, Chelsea may seek to cash in on Hazard next summer, or risk losing him on a free transfer the following year. That was the situation which sparked Courtois’ switch.
Real and Chelsea have had recent negotiations – over Morata’s move, Courtois’ switch, plus the deal which saw Mateo Kovacic arrive on loan this season with a view to a permanent move.
One intriguing possibility is the coaching situation at Real. Julen Lopetegui’s position is reportedly precarious after three losses in four games and the club’s worst scoring run since 1985. Real have not scored in four games.
And if Antonio Conte does come in at the Bernabeu in place of Lopetegui – the Italian is rumoured to be under consideration – maybe Hazard will reconsider his stance.
Hazard hinted at being frustrated with Conte last season at Chelsea. The Italian was sacked in July, with Sarri replacing him.
Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley has described it as “important” that Hazard stays.
Barkley said: “He’s been at Chelsea for a long time now and he’s achieved so much.
“I can’t speak for Eden, he knows in his mind what he wants. But I’d love to play with him for many more years ahead.”
Barkley – speaking at a press conference at an England media day at St George’s Park – added: “He’s inspirational, a magnificent player.
“You can see how he’s started the season and the World Cup that he had, you don’t get many players like him. He’s capable of magic at any moment.
“Playing with world-class players is always going to improve me, and to play with them, to train with them on a day-to-day basis, you see the speed of thought, you see how much enjoyment they have in football and it has a big effect on yourself.”