Chelsea will look to bring in either Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho or Lille’s Nicolas Pepe in the event that Eden Hazard leaves to join Real Madrid.
According to Calcio Mercato, the Belgian winger will likely complete a lucrative move to Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season, which will leave the Blues in a major quandary.
Chelsea may not be able to sign any players if a proposed transfer ban is upheld, but if they are successful in their final appeal, bringing in Hazard’s replacement will be the club’s number one priority.
The 28-year-old has been by far the club’s most influential player this season and Maurizio Sarri’s side would suffer significantly in his absence, but his departure could be softened by the arrival of a big name superstar.
As per Telefoot via Calcio Mercato, Chelsea have identified two possible replacements for Hazard in the summer transfer market, the first of which is Barca midfielder Coutinho.
The Brazilian moved to the Camp Nou from Liverpool in January 2018, but he has since struggled to establish himself in a squad full of world-class players, receiving plenty of criticism for his performances from experts and supporters.
Transfermarkt states that Coutinho is worth around £90 million, which is an affordable fee for the Blues if Hazard is offloaded, considering he will likely garner a much higher sum from Real Madrid.
However, if they cannot convince Coutinho to secure a switch to Stamford Bridge, Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe is the next target on the club’s agenda.
Calcio Mercato reports that Pepe is wanted by a whole host of top European clubs, including Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Manchester City, after a superb individual season in Ligue 1.
The 23-year-old has contributed 19 goals and 11 assists in 33 league appearances for Lille this term – the kind of numbers which suggest he could do the same job for Chelsea as Hazard has done over the last few years.
Pepe is currently valued at £36 million – as per Transfermarkt – but it remains to be seen whether or not Chelsea will be able to submit formal bids for him or Coutinho later in the year, as supporters face an anxious wait for the final verdict on their transfer ban.