Barcelona have reportedly joined Real Madrid in the race to sign Eden Hazard from Chelsea this summer.
Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Barcelona have emerged as the latest summer suitors for Eden Hazard. The Catalan club are set to go head-to-head with arch rivals Real Madrid in pursuit of the Chelsea winger.
Hazard has been one of the cornerstones of the success that Chelsea have achieved ever since he moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2012. The Belgian forward has been the pivotal figure in both of Chelsea’s Premier League title triumphs in the last three seasons.
The 2016/17 season turned out to be the most productive campaign in the English top flight for Hazard, boasting a return of 16 goals and 5 assists in 36 matches. Having rediscovered his best form though, the player is starting to attract interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Real Madrid have been eyeing Hazard for a long time now. But, the Spanish and European champions have now been joined by their bitter rivals, Barcelona in pursuit of the Belgium international.
At the Bernabeu, Real Madrid have truly become a force to be reckoned with ever since Zinedine Zidane took charge of the club. While the Frenchman has the luxury of managing some of the best players on the planet, there still remain a few minor weaknesses that he wants to do away with to create a formidable squad.
Attack has been the strongest suit for Los Blancos under Zidane. But, Karim Benzema’s dip in form and Gareth Bale’s persistent fitness troubles remain a big concern. As a result, the Real Madrid boss has been eager to make a marquee attacking signing this summer.
While, Kylian Mbappe has been his primary target, there are complications in pursuit of the Frenchman, with AS Monaco slapping an astronomical €180 million price tag on him. Therefore, Real Madrid have reignited their interest in Hazard, who hasn’t hidden he’d be open to a move to the Spanish capital.
However, Barcelona have now entered the fray for the diminutive Belgian, with Neymar’s infamous transfer saga putting them in a precarious position. The Brazilian winger is being heavily linked to a shock move to PSG, who are willing to shell out his €222 million release clause.
With Barcelona resigned to losing their talisman, they are scouring for a replacement, especially with the start of the season on the horizon.
While the Catalan club have been heavily linked with several players in recent weeks, Hazard has now emerged as a top target for Ernesto Valverde. The fact that he is comfortable playing on the left side of attack makes him an ideal fit.
It now remains to be seen if Hazard’s time at Stamford Bridge indeed comes to an end this summer, or if he remains in West London.