Hazard: Chelsea's anti-Real Madrid plan
"We want him to stay and we will do what we have to do to entice him to stay," says the Premier League club's chairman, Bruce Buck.
"Every Chelsea fan in London and around the world loves Eden Hazard, and he's not only a great footballer but I think he's a wonderful lad," said Blues chairman Bruce Buck when asked by beIN Sports about the player's future this week. "We want him to stay and we will do what we have to do to entice him to stay."
Chelsea ready to make Hazard best-paid player in Premier League
And the Premier League club have put a figure to Buck's "we will do what we have to do", with the board now decided on the offer they're going to make Hazard to avoid seeing him leave for Real Madrid. According to the Belgian media outlet HLN, the club want to make the 27-year-old the best-paid player in the English top flight by handing him increased wages of 18m euros a year - around three million more than the current highest earner in the division: Hazard's fellow Belgium international, Kevin de Bruyne, who in January penned a new Manchester City deal reportedly netting him just over 15m a season.
Contract talks have not yet taken place between Chelsea and Hazard, but HLN says the club have made it plain to the footballer's agent that, with Real circling, they are eager to sit down and agree an extension to the star's present deal, which is due to expire in 2020 and sees him earn around 13.5m a season. When Hazard last renewed his Chelsea commitment in 2015, he became the top-paid player at the club, but the five-time English champions are mindful of the fact that, since then, Premier League salaries have risen considerably. That, allied with the attacker's ill-concealed desire to pull on the Real shirt, has persuaded the club to act.
Real Madrid plan to negotiate favourable fee in summer
With a January arrival ruled out, Real Madrid's plan is to go after Hazard in the summer. The former Lille man is thought to be minded not to renew his Stamford Bridge terms, which would leave the LaLiga giants well placed to negotiate a favourable transfer fee for a player who would be entering the final year of his contract - like goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who joined Real from Chelsea in August - and is currently in the form of his career: he was one of the stand-out performers at the World Cup in Russia (helping Belgium to a third-place finish) and is the top scorer so far in the Premier League, with seven goals in eight games.
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