Eden Hazard is willing to snub a move to Paris Saint-Germain and stay with Chelsea if he can't secure a dream transfer to Real Madrid this summer.
According to MailOnline's Sami Mokbel, the Belgium international is keen to work with new Real boss Zinedine Zidane, but he's willing to play another year in the British capital if Los Blancos' transfer embargo becomes a reality before the end of the current season.
Real and PSG both have an interest in the winger, but Hazard has already played in Ligue 1 with Lille and reportedly isn't planning a return to France anytime soon.
Zidane has openly professed his admiration for the 25-year-old, per MailOnline's Ben Grounds, and Hazard recently admitted he would love to work under the Frenchman, adding fuel to the persistent rumours a transfer could be on the cards.
Asked if he would like to play under Zidane, he told Sudinfo.be (h/t Independent's Samuel Stevens): “Yes of course. When I was little, I watched him on television and the internet for hours. I talked Zidane and I ate Zidane. But, and I repeat it, I feel very good at Chelsea so it's not news.”
Will Hazard leave Chelsea in 2016?
The 2015-16 campaign has been hugely disappointing for last year's PFA Player of the Year, as he has scored only one goal for the club across all competitions, per WhoScored.com.
Despite his lack of form, Chelsea are expected to hold out for a massive transfer fee should Real and PSG come calling, with Mokbel reporting the Blues would ask for close to £80 million.
But with the club set to rebuild after the 2015-16 season, Chelsea are open to selling some of their top stars, per Mokbel, and owner Roman Abramovich is already preparing for life after Hazard―he reportedly wants Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann to replace the Belgian.
The France international is one of the most dynamic forwards in La Liga, capable of scoring outrageous goals. Here's a look at some of his highlights:
Much will depend on Real's transfer embargo and whether the appeals process comes to an end before the summer. If it does, Los Blancos won't be able to register any new players, although they could still buy them and have them sit until the ban is over.
Hazard is unlikely to wait for a year, even if Chelsea don't qualify for the UEFA Champions League, so an extended stay with the Blues would be likely. If Real's transfer embargo doesn't kick in until January, however, they're expected to spend big this summer, and a move for Hazard seems more likely than not.
Shanghai Shenhua to Move for Loic Remy?
According to the Daily Mirror (h/t Daily Star's Luke Gardener), yet another Chinese club is planning to make a big splash, as Shanghai Shenhua are willing to pay £11 million for Loic Remy.
The 29-year-old is expected to be the third-choice striker for the Blues behind Diego Costa and Alexandre Pato, opening the door for a move. Per the report, the Chinese side would be willing to pay the Frenchman £5.5 million per year. Shanghai previously signed former Chelsea star Didier Dogba and currently employ Demba Ba.
Remy has failed to become a regular starter for the Blues since securing a move to the capital in 2014, but he does carry some value as a substitute, per WhoScored.com:
Loïc Remy: Has scored more goals (6) from substitute appearances than any other player in the last 2 Premier League seasons #cfc— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 3, 2016
The Chinese Super League stole the headlines during the winter transfer window, making a number of major moves for players in some of Europe's top leagues. Per BBC Sport's John Bennett, money didn't seem to be an issue:
Ramires £25m, Jackson Martinez £31m & now Alex Teixeira £38m. China's (& Asia's) transfer record broken 3 times in 10 days.— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) February 5, 2016
The sudden barrage of moves has led to tons of speculation regarding which players could be next, and it's no surprise to see Remy's name pop up. It's important to note almost all of the star players who have left for China in the past few weeks have been South American, however.
As explained by Sport Witness' Lucas Esposito, it matters little for Brazilian players whether they ply their trade in Europe or Asia―either way, they're thousands of miles away from home:
Most of the footballers in the Brazilian first division earn less than £5k a week. So we shouldn’t blame them for trying to have a better life when most of their teammates from their old clubs will have to find 'real' jobs when they retire from the game.
[…] To a Brazilian, it largely doesn’t matter if they will live in Liverpool or in Jiangsu. They will be thousands of miles away from home anyway, far from their families, friends and their culture. Their children will be educated in another language. Having more money and more comfort makes all the difference for a family who feel alone in a strange place.
Remy's situation is a little different. At the age of 29, he's still in his prime and a candidate to make France's national team for the upcoming Euro 2016 tournament. The trip from London to France takes just a few hours by train―it's quite something else to move halfway across the world.
That doesn't mean a move to China is impossible―it's just less likely than in the case of a player who has already spent a large chunk of his career living and playing thousands of miles away from home.