Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri has admitted he fears the prospect of Eden Hazard joining Real Madrid this summer.
According to The Guardian, Hazard is now determined to force through a transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, after Zinedine Zidane’s re-appointment as the club’s permanent manager.
The Frenchman returned to Madrid on Monday, 10 months after resigning his post and the club reportedly made contact with Chelsea shortly before the announcement was made to declare their formal interest in Hazard – as per The Guardian.
The Belgian winger will only have one year remaining on his current Chelsea contract come the end of the season and unless the club are prepared to let him leave for free in 2020, the summer window will be the perfect time for them to cash in on their most prized asset.
Emerson has revealed that several Chelsea players are ‘afraid’ Hazard will complete a transfer to Real Madrid, but he is still hopeful that his teammate will ultimately opt to remain in west London.
“He shows every day how important he is,” Emerson told Sky Sports. “Obviously we have many players of quality in our team but he is on another level, and is one of the best in the world.
“I personally cannot see him leaving, but you never know in football. Like Chelsea fans, we are afraid that he might leave, I still believe that he will stay and we really want him to stay.”
Hazard has enjoyed a stellar season at Stamford Bridge under the stewardship of Italian boss Maurizio Sarri, contributing 13 goals and 11 assists in 28 Premier League matches.
The Blues have not been consistent enough to challenge for the title this term, but they are still in the hunt for a fourth-place finish and they can ensure qualification for next year’s Champions League by winning the Europa League in May.
Even that might not be enough for the club to retain Hazard’s services though, as Madrid look set to step up their pursuit of the 28-year-old considerably over the next few months.