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SOCCER

Hazard: Premier League clubs sounded out over January deal

Eden Hazard's unsuccessful spell at Real Madrid could be drawing to a close, according to a report by ESPN.

Update:
Celta Vigo's Peruvian midfielder Renato Tapia (L) challenges Real Madrid's Belgian forward Eden Hazard during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and RC Celta de Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 1
GABRIEL BOUYSAFP

With Eden Hazard struggling to earn a spot in Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid team, Los Blancos could be set to ship the winger back off to the Premier League.

Chelsea, Newcastle among clubs reportedly sounded out

Several English clubs have been contacted to sound out their interest in signing Hazard in the January transfer window, according to ESPN. Among the clubs reportedly spoken to are Chelsea, who sold the 30-year-old to Madrid in 2019, and Newcastle United, who are eyeing a host of transfer targets following their acquisition by a Saudi-led consortium.

However, ESPN casts doubt over the likely level of interest in Hazard among the clubs contacted, given the player’s disappointing form since moving to LaLiga. In a Bernabéu career undermined by injuries, Hazard has appeared just 52 times for Madrid, managing only five goals and seven assists.

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Ancelotti leaves door open for Hazard departure

Although it was expected Hazard would form an attacking threesome alongside Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale this season, his on-field displays have seen him lose his place to Vinícius Júnior. The Belgian last started a league game in mid-September.

The problem [for Hazard] is that right now the coach prefers a different player,” Ancelotti told reporters earlier this week, while on Friday the Italian said he wouldn’t stand in the way of any squad member who asks to leave: “It’s clear that we have to take into account what each player is thinking. Never in my career as a coach have I forced a player to stay when they want to leave. If a player wants to leave, they should leave. In my own personal opinion I don't have any doubts about that.”

Hazard, who is under contract at Madrid until June 2024, has seen his transfer value plummet since signing for the 13-time European champions. He was valued at 150 million euros when Los Blancos paid an initial 100 million for the player - having negotiated a reduced fee because he only had a year left on his Chelsea contract - but his market worth is now estimated at just 25 million euros.

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