Hazard won’t commit to Blues without signings
Eden Hazard said that he intends to wait to see who Chelsea sign this summer before deciding whether to commit to a long-term contract extension at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are desperate to keep Hazard, whose current deal expires in June 2020, for the rest of his prime years and are reportedly willing to make him the highest-paid player in the club’s history by giving him in the region of £300,000-a-week.
Real Madrid are long-term admirers of the Belgium international winger and speaking in December, Hazard’s father Thierry claimed that his son had turned down the offer of a new Chelsea contract in the hope of encouraging the reigning European champions to act upon their interest this summer.
Chelsea’s failure to finish in the Premier League’s top four this season has come at the worst possible time for their attempts to keep Hazard, and they now face huge decisions this summer regarding squad reinforcements and a potential replacement for head coach Antonio Conte, who is expected to depart after the FA Cup final. Asked if he considers his next contract to be the most important of his career, Hazard told reporters: “That’s why I’m taking my time, it is something big, so I will need to think of a lot of things. But one thing is for sure, I’m happy here.
“I’m waiting for new players next season. You know. We’ll see. I want good players because I want to win next season the Premier League. Yeah, a lot of things, then we will see.”
Hazard, however, would not be drawn on whether Conte’s fate will impact his decision to commit his future to Chelsea or seek a move.
“I don’t think about that,” he said. “We’re just focusing on the game. We have one game to play and we will see what happens at the end of the season or at the start of the new season.”
Chelsea’s transfer policy has faced fierce criticism after a troubled summer that saw key contributors Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic sold and their replacements, Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko, struggle to produce consistently in their first seasons in England. But despite the team’s dramatic regression, Hazard was prepared to offer hope that his departure may not be imminent. “Like I say many times before, I think it is not my last game,” he continued.
“It’s the last game of the season, that’s it. After the World Cup we will be ready for the next season. For me in my mind, I’m here, I have one week to play now. Saturday is a massive game, I just want to win for me and the club as well.”
Hazard announced his arrival at Chelsea after their memorable Champions League win six years ago. And if Chelsea can lift the FA Cup on Saturday then the European Cup will be the one major honour to elude him during his time at Stamford Bridge.
“I need two more trophies, Champions League and FA Cup. That’s it,” Hazard said.
Chelsea won the Premier League in Conte’s first season as head coach for Hazard’s second championship winners’ medal in England. But the Blues finished fifth this term and have failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“We’re Chelsea. We need trophies at the end of the season,” Hazard added. “At the moment we have nothing. We have not qualified for the Champions League. So the season has been bad. If we can’t be in the Champions League we need the trophy. It’s up to us to save the season with the FA Cup. I’ve never won the FA Cup. I hope this year is for me and for Chelsea. We will give everything.”
Chelsea and Hazard face a familiar foe in Jose Mourinho, who had two spells as Blues boss. Hazard added: “We know how he will play. We all know that. That’s why we need to be ready.”