Chelsea are prepared to sell Eden Hazard to Real Madrid this summer despite the threat of a transfer ban, because to let him leave for free next year would have repercussions for their Financial Fair Play figures.
Hazard has made it clear he wants to end his seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge after next week’s Europa League final against Arsenal and join Real.
Chelsea are holding out for £87million for the 28-year-old forward, who cost £32m from Lille and has one year left on his contract.
He is one of the best footballers in the world, but will go to Spain with the blessing of everyone at the club if Real meet the asking price because he has been such a popular figure.
Chelsea spent months trying to talk Hazard into extending his deal and were prepared to make him one of the highest-paid players anywhere.
There is no desire to hold him to the final year of his contract, even though the club are fighting a FIFA transfer ban, mostly out of respect for Hazard, but also because the business model at Chelsea relies on selling players.
To allow such a valuable asset to walk out on a free next year would hit accounts which are carefully managed to keep within UEFA’s FFP regulations.
In the last 12 months, Chelsea have bought Jorginho for £56m, Kepa Arrizabalaga for £74m and Christian Pulisic for £57m. They have also paid a loan fee for Gonzalo Higuain, who will return to Juventus at the end of the season.
They are keen to complete the signing of Mateo Kovacic who has spent this season on loan from Real and are confident a deal would not contravene a transfer ban.
Pulisic, who operates in the same position as Hazard, was signed from Borussia Dortmund in January and returned on loan to finish the Bundesliga season, which ended on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Blues boss Maurizio Sarri is in the frame as Juventus draw up a list of candidates to replace Max Allegri — and Chelsea would not stand in his way.
Allegri has confirmed his departure from Juventus after winning Italy’s Serie A five times in as many years.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is also admired by the Italian giants and they like the idea of a return for Antonio Conte, who led them to a hat-trick of titles before Allegri took control.
Conte is thought to have agreed to join Inter Milan at the end of the season. Pochettino has four years left on his Spurs deal and Juventus do not want to pay millions in compensation.
Sarri has only one year on his deal in London and is thought to be interested in a return to his native Italy.