Chelsea are bracing themselves to lose Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid – but they want the deals doing as soon as possible, given the early closure of the transfer window in England.
The Belgian duo are coming off the back a hugely successful World Cup campaign which saw them finish third, with Hazard finishing running-up in the Golden Ball vote and Courtois winning the Golden Glove.
Real have long been linked, but now with Cristiano Ronaldo sold to Juventus – they are ready to make moves in the transfer market.
We revealed last year that Hazard and Courtois were already on Real’s list of summer targets and now things are moving.
Chelsea already know that neither player wants to sign new contracts, and that they are ready to move on.
And for the first time Hazard has confirmed that he is ready to leave and admitted that everyone knew where he wanted to go.
“After six wonderful years at Chelsea it might be time to discover something different,” he said.
“Certainly after this World Cup. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision – if they want to let me go. You know my preferred destination.”
Courtois – who has just 12-months left on his deal – admitted that he could even run down his deal at Stamford Bridge if they did not agree to sell him.
“I’m going to talk to my agent to see what the possibilities are. All options are open for me, I may also stay at Chelsea,” he said.
“People always complain that players don’t comply with their contracts, but maybe they do. I don’t think they will keep someone with my qualities on the bench, even if I don’t sign. I will go back and see what they want and how they say it.”
Chelsea, though, know that they only have until August 9 to sign their replacements as that is when the window closes, whilst the rest of Europe – including Real, have three more weeks as their windows run until the end of August.
The odds on both being team-mates are getting shorter all the time with both odds-on to be at Real Madrid. Hazard is 1/3 to be at the Santiago Bernabeu, whist Courtois is 4/6.
“It’s looking like a tough transfer window for Chelsea with a number of clubs lining up offers for their stars. With no Champions League football this year they could struggle in the negotiations and we make it odds on that Hazard and Courtois join Real Madrid this summer,” said Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead.