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Hazard & Real Madrid: Why Chelsea beating Arsenal can see Florentino snubbed

COMMENT: So Saturday. Chelsea v Arsenal. A career defining game? A result to decide the richest move of the summer market...?

It's coming. Especially after Tallinn. This column has been told a bid will be made. Having come in strong. Then backed off. Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president, saw enough on Wednesday night. There's no getting around it. Real need Eden Hazard.

Those, let's say in-and-around the deal, tell us the opening offer will get nowhere near the £200m being quoted in the English press. Florentino will argue to Chelsea around half that figure is a more than generous valuation given the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. Youth isn't a factor, he'll insist, not when Ronaldo is involved. Titles. Ballon d'Ors. He's a guarantee. He's done everything Hazard has failed to do as a Chelsea player. The Blues must be realistic.

And with that stand, of course, everything will hinge on the player. The message has already been relayed to Hazard. Long before now. Even before the end of last season. To get this deal done, he needs to go public.

This is Florentino's M.O. It's no coincidence that as soon as Thibaut Courtois failed to report to training last Monday. Having spoken several times during the World Cup about missing his kids. Florentino came in with his €35m offer. Courtois had the script. He'd signed off on it. And played it to a fault. The Belgian was your typical Florentino deal.

So now it's over to Hazard. Is he going to say the same lines? Florentino will be banking he will. That's the only way Chelsea will budge. They know the Real president is desperate.

Tallinn laid it all bare. Atletico Madrid - from front to back - exposed everything that convinced Zinedine Zidane to walk away in June. They may be European champions. But they were scrambling for a top four finish for much of last season. And now Real defend their one title without their guarantee... Ronaldo.

There's certainly no guarantee Karim Benzema will transform into a 30 goal-a-season striker. Nor whether Gareth Bale can become a 100 per cent, cast-iron ever-present. Or if Isco and Marco Asensio are ready for greater responsibility. We could go on and on... But Florentino has two keepers - Keylor Navas and Courtois. So that's something...

And this is what those at Chelsea should be saying to their No10. For now, that hasn't happened. A new contract. A club record contract. Is in the works for Hazard. Some excellent late market business has also been secured. That should be enough. At least, that's the thinking...

But someone at Chelsea needs to sit down with Hazard and articulate why he's better off where he is. Chelsea is Chelsea. But Real MadridisReal Madrid. And no matter how much you think of your club, it's nigh impossible to resist a call from Los Merengues.

But there are arguments to be made why Hazard - for the sake of his career - should not go.

He is close to Courtois, yes. But the lad Florentino really wanted between the posts this season is now a Chelsea teammate. If it was up to the president. To his No2 Jose Angel Sanchez. And much of the coaching staff. Kepa Arrizabalaga would be at Valdebebas today - not Cobham. As Maurizio Sarri stated last week, the former Athletic Bilbao No1 isn't - today - at Courtois' level. But inside Real they accept he has the potential to surpass their new signing.

And further afield, while Luka Modric is the present, the future of Croatia's midfield is now in Chelsea Blue. Mateo Kovacic. Convinced by Zidane to stick around last season. But with the Frenchman gone, there was no reason for him to stay. He came running to Chelsea. Zidane saw Kovacic as a future lynchpin of his midfield. But now that potential, like Kepa's, is there for Sarri to mold. And we hear he's eager to introduce the Croatian as soon as he can.

Chelsea. With Sarri. Are building something. You can see it in the players whom have arrived. The new system being introduced. There's a freshness about the club. Ambition. You can see it being constructed in front of your eyes. Hazard must feel that.

Yes, there is the potential of leading a new Real Madrid team. A new era post-Ronaldo. But what will that era look like? And this season? Real and Florentino are scrambling. Rival Barcelona? Forget that. They have enough on their hands finishing the city's top dogs this season.

A win at Dean Court last week helps make Chelsea's case. And another three points on Saturday will further reinforce the argument.

A bid will be made. And the message from Madrid will be Hazard must respond. But a win against Arsenal. Six points from two games? That is sure to make him hesitate in accepting Florentino's demand.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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