Former Liverpool player Steven Gerrard believes Chelsea star Eden Hazard’s performance against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night could spark interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Speaking in his role as a pundit for BT Sport (quotes via the Daily Star), Gerrard said he could see the Belgian international being tempted by the Spanish giants like Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho:
“I think performances like that in this competition, if you keep producing them on a regular basis, I mean Frank (Lampard) won’t thank me for this or the Chelsea fans, but the likes of your Real Madrids and Barcelonas come knocking. Liverpool have got a similar problem with (Philippe) Coutinho. It’s performances like that when the real big hitters come.”
A move away from Stamford Bridge is unlikely to happen any time soon though if reports of a new contract are to be believed. The Daily Telegraph said earlier this week that Chelsea are optimistic that Hazard will sign a new £300,000 a week, four year deal in the not too distant future.
It would make the Blue talisman by far the highest paid player at the club, and the deal will send out a statement to any interested parties that the player is not for sale at any price.
Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata have proved Chelsea’s versatility ahead of crucial Man City match
It was the moment that Chelsea fans had been hoping to see when Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard finally started together for the first time against Atletico Madrid.
With Hazard’s return from injury, the combination had to be put on hold until Wednesday, but it worked from the very start as the Blues clinched their 2-1 win at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Despite having played just 49 minutes together before that, you would have had thought that they might need some time together. But nothing could have been further from the truth as they linked up well, before the Belgian assisted Morata’s first Champions League goal for the club.
“I think that when you have good players, it’s more simple to see this good link,” Antonio Conte said today.
“But, for sure, you have also to work on the pitch, to try to improve this link. When you have good players, it’s more simple to find this combination, this link, to play very close, to play together very well.”
What Wednesday also did was give Conte another option that maybe he didn’t have with Diego Costa last season. Costa was superb for Chelsea, you can’t forget that, but in some of his play he was quite limited in his style. A more bullish centre-forward than silky smooth, sometimes the real link up play would be lacking.
However, now Conte has the real option of using 3-5-2 on a regular basis, which would bring the combination of Cesc Fabregas, Tiemoue Bakayoko and N’Golo Kante together.
With Willian and Pedro together, there doesn’t seem to be the same option, however there is no doubt the 3-4-3 can work and that gives Conte more options going forward than he ever had before.
What it can allow tomorrow, if their bodies have recovered in time, is to bring that balance to the side but without losing the creativity going forward.
Conte has options, that’s all he needs, and the Italian can adapt his side to whatever Pep Guardiola throws at him.