Reports in Spain are again claiming that Real Madrid are planning a move for Eden Hazard.
The Chelsea star has repeatedly been linked with the Spanish giants and this week cast further doubt over his future by saying he was unsure whether to sign a new deal at Stamford Bridge.
Blues fans are hoping he will stay. And it is possible that a chain of events could lead to former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte ensuring that he does.
Hazard’s current contract, signed in February 2015, ends in June 2020. The offer of an extension is yet to be taken up, with Hazard pondering his options.
His sensational form for Maurizio Sarri’s side, topping the Premier League scoring charts with seven goals, has revived the link.
And after Sunday’s win at Southampton, Hazard revealed he is torn between signing a new deal in west London and a move to Madrid.
How the situation develops is up to Hazard, who does not have an agent.
There are many potential obstacles to a move, not least the agreement of a fee – with Chelsea likely to seek a sizeable sum if they are prepared to negotiate at all.
If no contract extension is agreed, Chelsea may seek to cash in on Hazard next summer, or risk losing him on a free transfer the following year. That was the situation which sparked Thibaut Courtois’ switch.
Real and Chelsea have had recent negotiations – over Morata’s move, Courtois’ switch, plus the deal which saw Mateo Kovacic arrive on loan this season with a view to a permanent move.
One intriguing factor though is the coaching situation at Real.
Julen Lopetegui’s position is reportedly precarious after three losses in four games and the club’s worst scoring run since 1985. Real have not scored in four games.
And if Conte does come in at the Bernabeu in place of Lopetegui – the Italian is rumoured to be under consideration – maybe Hazard will reconsider his stance.
Hazard hinted at being frustrated with Conte last season at Chelsea. The Italian was sacked in July, with Sarri replacing him.
Hazard may currently regard a move to Real as a dream. But would that still be the case if Conte ends up there?