Chelsea Could Snatch Hazard
Chelsea could be surprise late entrants in the race to sign Lille midfielder Eden Hazard. The 21-year-old midfielder has been a target for Manchester United and Manchester City, but rather than it being a two-horse race the Sunday Telegraph reports that Chelsea made a breakthrough during a surprise round of negotiations on Friday that could lead to Hazard moving to Stamford Bridge in a deal worth 35million euro (£28.1million).
Lille are ready to commence negotiations with both Manchester sides in the coming week but the Telegraph reports that both City and United are being put off by Hazard’s wage demands. The paper says ‘well-placed sources’ are claiming that the Belgium international is demanding a net wage of £4.6million which translates to a gross wage of £170,000 a week. Earlier this month, it was being reported in France Football that Hazard is the highest-paid footballer in France on a wage of 5.5million euro a year, although the report didn’t add whether that was a gross or nett figure. However, neither of the Manchester clubs are keen on paying out so much money for a talent unproven in the Premier League and whose performances for Lille in the Champions League this season failed to set the world on fire. Agents’ commissions of as much as £6million are also said to be a factor deterring the Manchester duo.
Chelsea see Hazard as a player in the mould of Spurs’ Luka Modric, a player they missed out on last summer, and are keen to recruit Hazard as part of their rebuilding programme. However, should they sign him it would mean the end for a repeat of last summer’s pursuit of Modric by the Blues.
New Chinese Link for Drogba
Chelsea’s Champions League hero Didier Drogba is once again being linked with interest from China. Chinese Super League side Guangzhou are ready to recruit the 34-year-old whose contract with Chelsea expired at the end of the season.
Guangzhou are managed by Italian World Cup-winning manager Marcello Lippi, who is reportedly being paid £8million to bring “Italian football concepts” to China.
Lippi is said to have identified Drogba and Juventus’s Alessandro Del Piero as two of his targets. Drogba was linked last month with interest from another Chinese side, Shanghai Shenshua, who are managed by his former Stamford Bridge team-mate Nicolas Anelka.
Drogba has been offered a one-year deal to stay at Stamford Bridge whereas the Ivory Coast international is looking for a two-year deal before finally hanging up his boots. It remains to be seen whether owner Roman Abramovich rewards Drogba’s man of the match performance in Munich with the two-year deal he desires.
Ramires Linked With Real
Meanwhile, Chelsea midfielder Ramires is being linked with interest from Real Madrid. The Sunday Express claims Real coach Jose Mourinho sees the 25-year-old as the perfect partner for Xabi Alonso and is keen to bring him to the Bernabeu.
Ramires has established himself as a key part of the Chelsea side since moving from Benfica two years ago and the Brazilian could be open to a move to the Bernabeu.