Chelsea have granted Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois a three-week holiday after the World Cup, as both players consider their futures.
The Belgium stars — along with France pair N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud and England’s Gary Cahill — are not scheduled to report for duty until August 5 or 6, less than a week before the start of the Premier League season.
With the transfer window closing on August 9, Chelsea face a race against time to resolve the futures of Hazard and Courtois, both of whom have attracted interest from Real Madrid.
Standard Sport has learned that the Chelsea stars who played in Russia have each been granted three weeks’ holiday from the day after their team were knocked out.
Chelsea are determined not to sell Hazard this summer, despite the attention from Real.
After scoring in Belgium’s 2-0 win over England on Saturday, which helped them secure the bronze medal, Hazard told Standard Sport: “I spent six years with Chelsea, I played a fantastic World Cup and maybe it is time to change something. It is not my decision. The club will decide. Now I just want to go on holidays and we will see what happens.”
Chelsea do not want to cash in on their prize asset and will still try to convince him to sign a new deal worth £300,000 a week instead. Real admire Hazard but their target is to sign either Neymar or Kylian Mbappe from Paris St-Germain.
Courtois’s situation is even more urgent, with Chelsea not wanting to run the risk of losing him on a free transfer in 2019.
Real hope to exploit Courtois’s situation by offering £31m, which is way short of Chelsea’s valuation of £50m.
Real had wanted to sign Roma keeper Alisson but refused to meet the Serie A club’s £70m valuation and reports in Spain today suggest Courtois is now their preferred choice. Alisson looks likely to join Chelsea should they lose Courtois.
Courtois said on Sunday that he deserves a better contract offer than the one Chelsea made last January, worth £200,000 a week because his performances at the World Cup — where he was handed the Golden Glove award for the tournament’s top keeper. It is unlikely Courtois’s wish will be granted.
But with both men set to be away with their families for the next three weeks, Chelsea are in danger of entering the final week of the window the situation still uncertain.
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud has welcomed the appointment of Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea’s new boss.
Sarri signed a two-year contract, with an option for another 12 months, at the weekend. His salary is worth around £5.7m a year and the Italian is set to be officially unveiled this week.
Giroud joined Chelsea from Arsenal for £18m in January and was a key part of the side that won the FA Cup under Antonio Conte, who was fired on Thursday.
Giroud, who now also boasts a World Cup winners’ medal after France’s triumph on Sunday, told Standard Sport: “Conte was a great coach but I’m sure Sarri will do a wonderful job.
“We can challenge for trophies. I don’t forget what Conte brought to Chelsea. I have a lot of respect for him. It’s a new page of the story of the club and we want to be competitive. I’m looking forward to coming back and working well with the new coach.”