The ankle injury suffered by Eden Hazard is obviously a blow for Chelsea, but it at least allows them some respite from speculation linking him with Real Madrid.
Along with Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, Zinedine Zidane had reportedly made Hazard a top target ahead of the new season. The European champions are, supposedly, prepared to pay around £60million for the Old Trafford number one, and it had been suggested that a world record fee of around £100million would be made to lure Chelsea’s number 10.
However, it was revealed earlier this week that the Belgian playmaker is set to be sidelined for most of the summer with an ankle injury, for which he has already undergone surgery on. This has wiped out the 26-year-old’s preparations for the new season, and it could be the end of August or maybe early September before he is back in contention for first team football.
Whilst this is a blow to the Premier League champions, it will at least leave them without the threat of a Real bid, probably for at least another 12 months given that they are unlikely to bid for him in mid-season when he is certain to be cup-tied in the UEFA Champions League. Indeed, this will give the Blues time to prepare a new contract for Hazard, despite his current deal running to 2020.
As for Real, even though a Champions League and La Liga double would suggest they need little tinkering to an already star-studded squad, it would appear they are itching to make a splash in the transfer window this summer. And although Hazard is now a none-starter, they could still break the record fee with an offer north of £100million for Kylian Mbappe.
The France international has emerged as the hottest talent in world football, after a season in which he shone in the Champions League and played a key role in Monaco winning the Ligue 1 title for the first time in 17 years. Although the 18-year-old could still remain at Stade Louis II for another year, this may depend on his club’s ability to tie him to a new contract.
Mbappe is tied to his current employers until the summer of 2019, so they would realistically need him to extend this deal otherwise his value could drop significantly this time next year when he will be down to his last 12 months. And considering Real are said to be willing to pay as much as £113million for him now, Monaco could be faced with a tough decision in the coming weeks.