Real Madrid are reportedly set to offer Eden Hazard an escape from Stamford Bridge with an incredible £100 million summer move being prepared for the Belgian.
That's according to Jeremy Cross and Paul Brown in the Daily Star, who noted that new Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is a confessed admirer of the midfielder. He has previously said:
"After Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Hazard is my favourite player. It is spectacular to see him play. Do I see him going to Real Madrid? I love the player, that’s all I will say."
Meanwhile, according to the Daily Mirror's Darren Lewis, the Blues are hoping to use Zidane's love for Hazard to their advantage as they hope to bring Gareth Bale to the club—a player also wanted by Manchester United and linked with a £120 million move to Old Trafford by Lewis.
The Frenchman is equally hoping to keep the Welshman at the Bernabeu, though:
But he is going to have the same treatment from me as with Rafa. He is important for the squad and fundamental for the team.
What he has been doing recently is fantastic. I am going to give him all my affection and support so that he plays well.
The pair have endured contrasting fortunes this season with Bale enjoying exceptional form while Hazard has seriously struggled to not only live up to the standards he set last year but make any sort of positive impact at all.
Bale has racked up an astounding nine goals and 10 assists in just 15 appearances in all competitions, whereas Hazard has failed to find the net completely and set up just four goals in 27 appearances.
OptaJoe highlighted the latter's struggles:
11 - Eden Hazard hasn't supplied a goal or an assist in any of his last 11 Premier League appearances. Decline.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2015
2289 - Eden Hazard has now gone 2289 minutes without a goal for Chelsea in all competitions. Withdrawn.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 3, 2016
Last season the pair were more even. The Belgian playmaker bagged 19 and 13 respectively in all competitions with Bale slightly behind on 17 and 12.
Owing to their recent form, though, sports journalist Matt Somerford believes the two aren't likely to be swapping clubs:
Gareth Bale swap deal for Eden Hazard looking more unlikely when Bale scores four in a game and Hazard doesn't score all season long.— Matt Somerford (@somerfjord) December 20, 2015
Regardless, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague cannot envision Bale leaving the Bernabeu for either Chelsea or United in the near future. Per the Daily Star's Marc Williams, he said:
Lots of Real Madrid players are playing as individuals, and Bale felt Rafa was working towards making it work as a team. That is why he was devastated.
Putting him on the market is the logical next step if you're the representative of Gareth Bale. I can tell you Real Madrid have no intention to let him go, though. He wants to be there, and they want him to stay.
Going with the plans Real Madrid have at the moment, which is to get rid of Cristiano [Ronaldo], [Karim] Benzema, perhaps even [Toni] Kroos, but to leave somebody that can be the head of the project, and that's Bale. So I think it's very unlikely he will go.
Where will the pair be next season?
Indeed, the 26-year-old seems set to play a key role with Los Blancos for the foreseeable future and is perhaps still yet to reach his peak.
Unless Bale himself pushes for a move away—which seems unlikely—offering a player in exchange is possibly the only way to prise him away from Madrid, and it would take someone of Hazard's quality to do it.
It's more conceivable that Hazard seeks to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer after his torrid season, but with Chelsea equally determined to keep him they would likely push for a player in return rather than just straight cash—something they already have in abundance.