How Chelsea should spend their potential £100million Eden Hazard windfall

first_img Full Screen Read More SPONSORED Rio Ferdinand tells Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop struggling Zinedine Zidane’s return to Real Madrid has heightened speculation that Eden Hazard could join them in the summer (Getty Images)Unless Hazard opts to commit his prime years to Chelsea over the next couple of months, a summer departure seems likely given it will represent the final opportunity for the club to make a handsome profit on a player they bought for £32m from Lille in 2012.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT Skip Video Settings Bruno Fernandes has been in sensational form for Sporting Lisbon this season (Getty Images)Chelsea were regularly linked with Juventus’ Alex Sandro prior to Alonso’s arrival and with the Brazilian rumoured to be on his way in the summer, a move for him could potentially be resurrected. Otherwise, Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell could come into the reckoning following his excellent form this term.In midfield, Chelsea have lacked a goalscoring presence all season with N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley, Jorginho and Kovacic managing 11 goals combined in the Premier League. Sporting Lisbon captain Bruno Fernandes has 13 of his own along with ten assists in 25 league games and would be an attainable signing.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityGo big for a strikerAlvaro Morata’s travails during the first half of the season were well-documented but less has been said of Gonzalo Higuain’s decidedly indifferent impact since his loan move from Juventus in January.The Argentine has scored three goals from his first ten appearances for Chelsea but those strikes have come against the Premier League’s two worst teams in Huddersfield and Fulham and his lack of pace has hindered rather than helped his side of late.AdvertisementMaurizio Sarri even acknowledged that the 31-year-old has been struggling, saying after his latest goalless outing against Everton that the Argentine ‘can do more’ and that he has to ‘improve mentally and physically’. Hardly a ringing endorsement from the man who pushed for Higuain’s signature. Read More PLAY According to reports, Roman Abramovich has already resigned himself to Hazard moving from London to Madrid when the transfer window re-opens and a fee of around £100m could tempt the Russian into parting with Chelsea’s prized asset.Although there is a transfer ban looming ominously over Chelsea, the club will hope they can delay it beyond the summer to allow for one final splurge on new recruits. Here is how they could spend their Hazard money.Like-for-like replacementThe last time Chelsea raided Lille for their star player things worked out rather nicely for them.Hazard has been a colossal success in west London since making that very switch but if his future does indeed lie away from Stamford Bridge, they may be tempted to raid the Ligue 1 side for their current prized asset: 23-year-old Ivorian, Nicolas Pepe.Not too much was known about Pepe outside of France prior to the start of the season. The winger started his career with Poitiers in France’s fifth-tier before moving up to the second to join Angers with whom he earned promotion to Ligue 1 prior to joining Lille in 2017. Mauro Icardi would be an upgrade on Gonzalo Higuain (Getty Images)Unless Higuain improves from now until the end of the campaign, Chelsea may decide against extending his loan agreement until 2020 or signing him permanently in favour of going for a younger player, such as his international colleague Mauro Icardi.At 26, Icardi has his best years still ahead of him and given his stand-off with his current employers Inter, it looks as though he’ll be on the move at the end of the season. Although Icardi, like Higuain, isn’t the quickest, few in European football can match his finishing prowess.A record of 100 Serie A goals exactly since the start of the 2014-15 season is a testament to Icardi’s goalscoring knack. With Hazard gone, Icardi could be the man around whom Chelsea build a new-look attack.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal About Connatix V67539 Top articles Advertisement How Chelsea should spend their potential £100million Eden Hazard windfall Read Morecenter_img Comment Manchester United captain Harry Maguire Coming Next 1/1 / Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE by Metro Nicolas Pepe has enjoyed a breakthrough season with Lille (Getty Images)That move has been the making of Pepe as he has scored 30 goals and provided 12 assists for the club in 65 Ligue 1 matches. Such form has led to heavyweights such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Arsenal being linked with a move for his services.A potential sticking point for the aforementioned clubs, though, could be Lille’s asking price of approximately £70m. That shouldn’t be much of an issue for Chelsea, however, if Abramovich has £100m burning a hole in his pockets from Hazard’s sale.Pepe isn’t an exact replica of Hazard. For starters, he’s a left-footed who nominally plays off the right flank and is more of a wide forward than a creative presence like Hazard is, but if Chelsea want a top-of-the-range winger to soften the blow of losing the Belgian, he certainly fits the bill.They’d even have some cash left over to invest elsewhere…Strengthen other areasOf course, losing a player of Hazard’s calibre and influence would be a huge blow but Chelsea aren’t exactly short of options in their wide attacking positions.Willian and Pedro seem to be divisive figures in the eyes of the club’s supporters but both are reliable squad players capable of chipping in with goals and assists. Beyond them, England new boy Callum Hudson-Odoi is a prodigious talent while January’s £58m recruit Christian Pulisic is another highly-rated young prospect.AdvertisementAdvertisementHaving rejected numerous Bayern Munich offers for Hudson-Odoi and rubber-stamped a deal for Pulisic before being slapped with a transfer ban by Fifa, Chelsea perhaps were planning for Hazard’s departure during the January transfer window.If that is the case, any money received from Hazard’s sale could be diverted to other needs in the squad, chiefly at left-back and central midfield. Marcos Alonso started the season in fine attacking form but is a liability defensively while Mateo Kovacic has struggled to live up to expectations since his loan move from Real. 1 min. story Eden Hazard’s time at Chelsea could soon be coming to an end (Getty Images)Eden Hazard’s on-off move to Real Madrid should finally reach a conclusion in the summer when the Belgian officially enters the final 12-months of his Chelsea contract.The 28-year-old has been offered a new deal from Chelsea which would see him become the club’s all-time highest-earning player but he has so far been prepared to play a waiting game amid reported interest from the La Liga giants.Over the course of the past few transfer windows, Hazard has regularly flirted with the possibility of moving to Real, stating on more than one occasion that they are his ‘dream club’ while Zinedine Zidane is known to be a big admirer of his talents. Read More Oliver Young-MylesWednesday 20 Mar 2019 11:15 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link402Shares Read More Skip Ad Advertisementlast_img

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