CHELSEA chief Marina Granovskaia will use the transfers of Neymar and Paul Pogba to get as much as she can for Eden Hazard from Real Madrid in the summer.
That’s according to Marca, who say Real Madrid have settled upon the Belgian forward as their prime transfer target.
Hazard has been heavily linked to the Bernabeu since the World Cup last summer but despite losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, Real opted not to chase their next superstar.
That was even though Hazard publicly flirted with a move to the Spanish capital on repeated occasions, far from subtly suggesting he wanted to leave Stamford Bridge to join the Champions League holders.
Spanish outlet Marca say that Hazard has been keen on a switch to Real ever since he played for Lille earlier in his career, having since spent six-and-a-half seasons at Chelsea – winning everything but the Champions League.
It is believed Real Madrid president Florentino Perez though that despite Ronaldo’s exit, he would have enough firepower in the likes of Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale and Isco in particular.
But with the La Liga heavyweights fifth in the table after 19 games, 10 points off rivals Barcelona, and having scored 28 goals compared to the 53 of the Catalan giants, they are keen to strengthen in the final third.
Hazard has less than 18 months left on his Chelsea contract and has rebuffed offers of an extension from the Blues despite their willingness to hand him over £300,000-a-week to stay in England.
Marca say Real Madrid have decided they will make Hazard their next big-money signing given their underperformance this year – but insist they will not pursue a deal this month.
It is claimed while both clubs know of Hazard’s desire to move to Spain, the player does not want to disrupt Chelsea’s season.
Instead, it is reported he will look to drive through his ambition to play for Real in the summer – even though Los Blancos could do with immediate improvement.
Marca add that Chelsea have set a £88million (€100m) asking price due to his contractual situation but chief executive Granovskaia – trusted with key decisions by owner Roman Abramovich – is said to be hoping to get as much as possible in return for their star player.
Real want to bring the fee down and have been linked with throwing Mateo Kovacic into the deal with the Croatian currently on loan at Chelsea and having made 26 appearances for Maurizio Sarri’s side.
And the Russian-Canadian director will point to the huge deals of Pogba – who joined Manchester United for £89m in 2016 – and Neymar, who cost Paris Saint-Germain an eye-watering £198m just 18 months ago, to drive up the fee as much as possible.
It is thought Granovskaia will use the overinflated state of the market to allow Chelsea to stand firm on their valuation of Hazard.
But Marca also say Real Madrid will undergo huge surgery in the summer window as they look to overcome their recent struggles, which saw Julen Lopetegui sacked after just 14 games in charge.
Santiago Solari briefly steadied the ship but on current course, Real are set to finish well below rivals Barca and the back-to-back-to-back European champions could face a tricky tie against a flying young Ajax team in the Champions League last 16.