Maurizio Sarri says Chelsea must respect decision if forward wants to leave

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said he must “respect Eden Hazard’s decision” if the forward wants to leave Stamford Bridge this summer.

Report on monday suggested Real Madrid are eager to secure a £100m deal for the 28-year-old Belgium international.

Hazard later scored twice, including one of the goals of the Premier League season, in a 2-0 win over West Ham.

“If Eden wants another experience it’s very difficult to keep him,” Sarri told Sky Sports.

“Eden played a wonderful match. When he is able to play like this we are lucky because it is easy to win.

“£100m is too cheap in this market – we have seen in the last windows every price.

“The club agrees with me [about wanting to keep Hazard].

“We are trying to improve. We are trying to become one of the best teams in England and, as a consequence, in Europe – but I think I have to respect his decision.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the Italian added: “I hope that it is not true. Every coach wants to keep a player like him.

Real manager Zinedine Zidane said last week he has always appreciated Hazard, but any deal could be complicated by the Blues having been placed under a transfer ban.

They cannot register new players until January 2020 for breaking rules over the signing of foreign under-18 players. Their appeal against the decision will be heard by fifa on 11 April. When asked about West Ham fans singing that he was off to Real Madrid in the summer during Monday’s match, Hazard – whose contract expires in the summer of 2020 – said: “They are wrong. For now, I am just focusing on Chelsea until the end of the season.

“We still have a lot to do and then we will see.

“We have won three in a row. For the mentality, it is good to keep going. Top four and the Europa League is our target so we need to do well in both – but we can do it.”

How good was Hazard against West Ham?

Within the first half hour of Monday’s game at Stamford Bridge Hazard had:

  • Been brought down by Angelo Ogbonna when racing through after playing a sublime one-two with Gonzalo Higuain, an incident which might have seen the Italian defender sent off but for the presence of his team-mates racing back to cover him;
  • Beaten five West Ham players to score a delightful solo goal, running from just inside the West Ham half before gliding between Mark Noble and Declan Rice, squirming between the challenges of Fabian Balbuena and Ogbonna and firing past Lukasz Fabianski as Ryan Fredericks dived in with a despairing challenge;
  • Played a sumptuous lofted through ball to send Higuain free, only for the Argentine’s shot to hit the woodwork.
  • Been barged over in the box by Marko Arnautovic after wriggling into space, only for referee Chris Kavanagh to wave play on – much to the bemusement of the home crowd and players.

There was plenty more brilliance in the second half, including the perfect first touch and composed finish in the 90th minute to make sure of a win which took Chelsea up to third in the Premier League, above Tottenham and Arsenal.

The goals mean that:

  • Hazard has now scored 19 goals this term – his joint-best tally in a season for Chelsea (level with 2014-15);
  • He has been directly involved in 11 goals in his past 10 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge (six goals, five assists);
  • He has been directly involved in more league goals than any other player this season (16 goals, 12 assists);
  • He has now scored more league goals (85) than former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo (84) and the same number as striker Fernando Torres managed for the Blues and Liverpool.

It was a performance to whet the appetite of any suitors…

‘I think he’s done over here’ – is Hazard on his way to Real Madrid?

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