Manchester City are ready to make a £150million move for Chelsea star Eden Hazard.
Pep Guardiola has identified the Belgium winger as his No.1 summer transfer target after admitting that the huge revamp of his squad has meant he’s been unable to compete in the market for the world’s stellar players.
City refused to meet the £400,000-a-week wage demands of Alexis Sanchez – and saw the Chile star join rivals Manchester United last week.
But Guardiola has dropped a big hint that the Premier League leaders’ stance is about to change.
And Hazard’s contract stand-off at Stamford Bridge has given City hope that he will come on the market this summer.
Guardiola agreed with City’s stance on refusing to break the club’s wage structure for Sanchez.
At 27, Hazard is seen to represent better value as he enters the peak years of his career.
And if his contract deadlock with Chelsea is still in place at the end of the season, then City will challenge Real Madrid for his signature.
Hazard will have just two years left on his contract and will be at his optimum value in terms of fee and wages.
City will not hesitate to shatter the British transfer record.
And Hazard would also bank the same kind of personal terms agreed by Kevin De Bruyne last week when his international team-mate signed a five-year deal worth a basic £300,000 a week, with another possible £50,000 a week in add-ons.
Madrid are in crisis after slipping to fourth in La Liga and boss Zinedine Zidane – a boyhood hero of Hazard’s – will have to win the Champions League to have a hope of surviving.
And, with top earners such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale needing to be moved on to make room for another Galactico, the situation at the Bernabau is complex.
City believe the presence of Guardiola at the Etihad will give them an edge – and breaking the bank for Hazard will be worth the money.
He was set to join City in 2012 when he left Lille, but City pulled out when his agent demanded £6m for brokering the move.