Chelsea are prepared to sell Eden Hazard to Real Madrid this summer despite the threat of a transfer ban, because to let him leave for free next year would have repercussions for their Financial Fair Play figures.
Hazard has made it clear he wants to end his seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge after next week’s Europa League final against Arsenal and join Real.
Chelsea are holding out for £87million for the 28-year-old forward, who cost £32m from Lille and has one year left on his contract.
Chelsea spent months trying to talk Hazard into extending his deal and were prepared to make him one of the highest-paid players anywhere.
There is no desire to hold him to the final year of his contract, even though the club are fighting a FIFA transfer ban, mostly out of respect for Hazard, but also because the business model at Chelsea relies on selling players.
To allow such a valuable asset to walk out on a free next year would hit accounts which are carefully managed to keep within UEFA’s FFP regulations.
In the last 12 months, Chelsea have bought Jorginho for £56m, Kepa Arrizabalaga for £74m and Christian Pulisic for £57m. They have also paid a loan fee for Gonzalo Higuain, who will return to Juventus at the end of the season.