Chelsea Transfer News: Eden Hazard Reportedly Set for Pay Rise, Latest Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2017

Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in London on September 30, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Chelsea are reportedly set to increase Eden Hazard's wages by £80,000 to make the Belgium international the highest-paid player in the Premier League.

A report from Neil Fissler of the Sunday Express says Chelsea want to agree a new deal with Hazard to put Real Madrid off from trying to sign their attacking talisman.

According to Fissler, "Hazard could give the green light to the deal when he returns from international duty with Belgium in a couple of weeks once some minor details are sorted out."

The article also noted how Hazard would earn £300,000 per week under the new deal, enough to help him exceed Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba as the biggest earner in England's top flight.

It would represent a hefty investment from Chelsea but one worth making to secure the future of a player as talented as anybody in world football on his day. Hazard can be a mercurial type, but when in form, he can also be the catalyst for major success.

Hazard has been the inspiration behind Chelsea's last two title triumphs.
Hazard has been the inspiration behind Chelsea's last two title triumphs.IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

The 26-year-old has proved as much by inspiring the Blues to a pair of league titles in the past three seasons. Chelsea's latest title triumph came last season in a campaign lit up by Hazard's quality.

The classy No. 10 scored 16 times and provided five assists in the league, per WhoScored.com. A lengthy injury layoff after ankle surgery in June has meant Chelsea have rarely seen the best of Hazard this season.

He recently returned to the starting XI and thrilled during the 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. Squawka Football summed up the extent of Hazard's influence in the final third against Atleti:

Yet, he followed his masterclass against Los Rojiblancos with a subdued display during Saturday's 1-0 league defeat to Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Even so, Hazard remains the creative and attacking fulcrum of this Chelsea side. He has been made even better by manager Antonio Conte's progressive approach.

The Italian has encouraged Hazard to play more centrally and closer to the striker. It's a tactical ploy Chelsea legend Frank Lampard thinks brings out the best in Hazard.

Lampard told BT Sport (h/t Lewis Winter of the Sunday Express) how effectively Hazard has taken to his change in role:

"He's not shy in saying how he wants to be No 10. He wants to be behind Morata which I found interesting.

When Eden Hazard came to the club I think his talent was very evident straight away. For the first couple of years he played off the left.

I think what he's getting at there is that maybe he was constrained slightly on the left, he could be easily marked. Whereas in this free role where we see him, particularly on Wednesday night, he was popping up all over the pitch. He can do a lot of damage there and we saw the ability. 

He's been injured early season but his sharpness and freshness on Wednesday showed he's back to where he wants to be.”

Hazard playing more centrally worked wonders for Chelsea last season, as he combined wonderfully with striker Diego Costa. Conte and the club will be counting on him to eventually do the same with the Spain international's replacement, Alvaro Morata.

Conte has successfully redefined Hazard's role.
Conte has successfully redefined Hazard's role.Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Still, Conte will know the first priority is making sure Hazard doesn't have his head turned by interest from the Spanish capital.

Hazard appeared to offer encouragement about a possible move to Spain earlier this month, when he told Marca (h/t Metro): "I play for one of the best teams, but yes, the Spanish League is special. ... Why not one day? Of course, for the moment I'm here."

However, Real have reportedly put their interest in Hazard to one side as they assess other targets, including Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, per Mundo Deportivo's Francesc Aguilar (h/t Toby Gannon of The Sun).

It could prove a costly delay for Los Merengues as Chelsea wisely step up efforts to tie down their prized asset for years to come.