Ray Wilkins sends warning to Chelsea about Eden Hazard
The former Chelsea midfielder explains why Antonio Conte must keep Eden Hazard beyond the summer transfer window
Ray Wilkins has warned Antonio Conte that Chelsea can ill-afford to lose Eden Hazard if the Blues are going to dominate the Premier League in the coming seasons.
The Belgium international rediscovered his best form under Conte after the former Juventus coach was appointed as Guus Hiddink’s permanent replacement back in 2016.
Conte led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in charge thanks to the excellent performance of trio Diego Costa, Hazard and N’Golo Kante.
Hazard finished with 16 goals and five assists in 36 appearances in the 2016-17 season as the Belgian forward produced his best return in the Premier League since his big-money move from Ligue 1 side Lille in 2012.
Champions League winners Real Madrid have been linked with a big-money move to sign the Chelsea star in the summer transfer window despite Hazard appearing to commit his future to Stamford Bridge last month.
Speaking to talkSPORT about Hazard’s long-term future at the west London club, former Chelsea and Manchester United midfielder Wilkins said:
“He’s world class, there are no two ways about it.
“The best club in Europe and probably the world is Real Madrid, therefore you’re going to be asked would you like to go there? The simple answer to that is yes. Absolutely (they would be wrong to let him go), I couldn’t agree more.
“He’s got three years left as he stated and keep him for those three years, even give him another one to make it up to five years.
“He’s living in one of the finest cities on the planet, he’s always going to be winning trophies or there or thereabouts with Chelsea because that’s the way Mr (Roman) Abramovich has run Chelsea over the last x amount of years. They’re a winning club now and they win, they win often.
“He certainly is (a big part of the team) and he knows that and the club knows that as well. If they want to progress and be one of the top clubs in European football, you cannot afford to let Eden Hazard move to one of your biggest rivals.”