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Maurizio Sarri: £100M 'Too Cheap' for Real Madrid Target Eden Hazard

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 8, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Eden Hazard of Chelsea reacts during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on April 08, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)
Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said £100 million is "too cheap" for star talisman Eden Hazard, who continues to attract Real Madrid's attention as he scored an iconic goal against West Ham United on Monday.

Hazard, 28, scored both goals as the Blues beat the Hammers 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, the first of which saw him beat six defenders before ending with a sublime finish. Sarri told Sky Sports' Geoff Shreeves that a £100 million selling price was too cheap:

Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews

"£100m? Too cheap. But if he wants another experience it is very difficult to keep him " 😵 Maurizio Sarri is honest over the future of Eden Hazard Report: https://t.co/NkwpZDfFOX https://t.co/FIzwOIpUTT

The Italian said: "[£100 million] is too cheap; in this market it's too cheap. We have seen in the last market window every price, I think. So I think it is really very hard to change Hazard with another player."

Sarri also spoke to Radio 5 Live after the game and admitted it would be a crushing blow if the player left Stamford Bridge this summer.

"It's a disaster when a player like Eden decides to change team," Sarri said. "It's very difficult to find another player at the same level because in the world there are only two or three players at the same level.

"We have to try something different [if he leaves], not find another Hazard. In this moment he is unique."

Hazard will enter the final year of his Chelsea contract in June, and Sarri is correct that even the nine-figure sum likely would not be sufficient to sign a Hazard replacement of corresponding skill.

Sky Sports reported Real are growing confident of a deal for Hazard, who has openly expressed admiration of Los Blancos and said he has dreamed of joining the club since he was a child. He expressed in October that he was torn in his dilemma: "Sometimes in my head, I wake up in the morning and think I want to go."

The Belgian's opening goal against West Ham on Monday was evidence as to just how difficult it will be to fill his void should he leave, via Telemundo Sports (U.S. only):

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Hazard dribbled through everybody 😲 (via @TelemundoSports) https://t.co/wONSxYpD0C

Hazard has 19 goals and 14 assists in 42 matches this season. It's only natural that kind of prolific contribution attracts Real, who have reappointed Zinedine Zidane—a personal hero of Hazard's—to restore them to their past glories.

Sarri continued and said Hazard's situation—with an expiring contract and uncertain prospects of UEFA Champions League football at Stamford Bridge—will make him "very difficult" to keep:

"I cannot do anything [to keep him], because the club agrees with me, but if Eden wants to make another experience, it is very difficult to keep him, I think.

"[We will try to persuade him] that we are trying to improve, to become one of the best teams in England, and as a consequence in Europe, but I think I have to respect his decision."

The winger himself responded to chants from the West Ham supporters that he was "off to Madrid," via Sky Sports:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

❌ "No, they're wrong" Eden Hazard reacts to West Ham fans singing 'He's off to Madrid' during tonight's London derby. More: https://t.co/IUIfyqpLUX https://t.co/Zv9mljWZPz

Chelsea are up to third in the Premier League standings after Monday's win, albeit having played one game more than their rivals for third and fourth place. They face Slavia Prague in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, their other potential route back into Europe's first-tier competition.

However, Hazard turns 29 in January and will have one eye on this summer's transfer window as a potential exit juncture from Chelsea, considering he's in his prime years.

Pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher discussed after Monday's display whether Hazard had outgrown his west London employers:

Sky Sports MNF @SkySportsMNF

"Hazard is too good for Chelsea" 😬 @GNev2 and @Carra23 reflect on Eden Hazard's display v West Ham. More: https://t.co/cFqigMOQD4 https://t.co/nGto1hT6FB

One can understand why Hazard would like the idea of joining Real and possibly headlining their revival after the collapse that followed after Zidane's and Cristiano Ronaldo's exits in 2018.

Even Sarri seems resigned to the strong possibility his greatest asset won't be around in August, though Real need to move closer to Chelsea's asking price lest they risk another club beating them to the punch.

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