Real Madrid reportedly reopened their pursuit of £100 million-rated Chelsea star Eden Hazard prior to reappointing Zinedine Zidane as manager on Monday, and their chances have only improved after his return.
Matt Law of the Telegraph wrote Real "have made a proposal to Chelsea," who are aware of Hazard's openness towards joining Los Blancos and the fact he has a little more than one year left on his contract.
It's reported Hazard hasn't given any indication he'll sign the £300,000-per-week contract Chelsea have offered him, and Bleacher Report's Dean Jones saw Zidane's reappointment as a key factor in the potential deal:
The Frenchman has returned to the helm of Real 10 months after leaving the club, with whom he became the first manager to win three successive UEFA Champions League titles (2016-2018) in his first senior post.
Successors Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari—who was fired on Monday—failed to sustain the same levels of success, but Zidane's presence automatically makes the club a more appealing destination.
Hazard, 28, has been open regarding his childhood dreams of representing Real and commented on a potential switch in October, via ESPN FC:
It was around the same time the Chelsea talisman suggested he would have to move to La Liga if he wanted to win the Ballon d'Or:
Zidane has paid Hazard compliments in the past and said of the player in 2015, per Law: "After (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Hazard is my favourite player. I love watching him because he is a player who creates things, and it is often spectacular to see him play. Do I see him going to Real Madrid? Ask someone else. I love the player and that's all."
The Blues are hampered by an impending transfer ban that could see them lose Hazard in the summer without the means to sign a proper replacement. Per Law, they'll go through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in an attempt to suspend the transfer ban while they appeal the decision this summer.
Zidane has signed a contract at the Santiago Bernabeu through to June 2022, and The Independent's Miguel Delaney wrote he'll be given up to £300 million to restructure his team this summer. Gareth Bale, 29, and Luka Modric, 33, are touted as potential assets who could be sold to free up further funds.
Hazard scored a sensational equaliser to salvage a point against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, his 16th goal in all competitions this season.
His situation mirrors that of former Blues No. 1 Thibaut Courtois, who entered the final year of his Chelsea contract last August before refusing to show up for training ahead of the new season. The west Londoners sold him to Real not long after and signed Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao as his replacement.
Three-time Chelsea Player of the Year Hazard may not be expected to operate by the same means, but Courtois said after the switch that he wanted his Belgian countryman to join him in Madrid:
Zidane's return will transform Real's prospects this summer, and Chelsea look likely to face a test in keeping hold of their superstar whether they're subject to a transfer ban or not.