Eden Hazard is on the verge of leaving Chelsea after several seasons at Stamford Bridge. The Belgian superstar joined The Blues back in 2012 on the backdrop of a brilliant season at Ligue 1 side LOSC Lille. It has been widely reported that he will be joining his dream club Real Madrid once the Europa League final vs Arsenal is over next week.
He is widely admired by the bosses at the Santiago Bernabeu and Chelsea will be selling in excess of €100 million. He has been phenomenal all season having scored 16 goals and added 15 more assists which contribute to 49 percent of Chelsea’s goals in the Premier League.
Chelsea are facing a transfer ban and they will be appealing to CAS with the hope that the ban gets deferred by at least 1 transfer window. In case the ban gets deferred, they will be able to operate in the transfer market and pick up a replacement for Hazard.
Here are 3 players who can act as potential replacements for the departing Belgian:
#5 Wilfried Zaha
The Ivory Coast International has reportedly handed out a transfer request at Crystal Palace stating that he wants to play at a Champions League club next season and win trophies. He has scored 10 and assisted 10 more for The Eagles this season. Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has urged Chelsea to sign the 26-year-old attacker in an interview stating,
“And then Wilfried Zaha brings the excitement. If Eden Hazard goes, you need somebody to take players on. Yes, they have Calum Hudson-Odoi but any good side needs four wide players, especially if something happens to Pedro or Willian.”
“I think it will be difficult for Crystal Palace to keep them, with all due respect. If they’re going to go, I think it’s best for them to stay in London.
“Yes, Wilfried Zaha had a difficult move to Man United that didn’t work out so I think it’d be good for him to stay in London.”
Zaha is known for his blend of speed and skill. He can drag defenders out of position to create space for strikers to operate. He has the ability to exhaust and commit defenders and wreak havoc which is unpleasing for the opposition. Zaha is versatile as he can on all three positions up front and he would be a brilliant addition should they be able to get his signature.
#4 Nicolas Pepe
Nicolas Pepe makes it to the list as the second Ivorian in the fray. The 23-year-old has had a breakthrough season in France with him scoring 23 goals and assisting 12 more across all competitions for Lille this season.
A left-footed player, Pepe is a very fast player with great dribbling abilities. He is known for his great vision and ability to find teammates. He can dribble well in short spaces and get positive results out of that, making him a constant menace for the opposition.
With his brilliant qualities, he is just the kind of winger Chelsea need right now. He can combine well with strikers and move into scoring positions or create chances for them. He’s reminiscent of Arjen Robben due to his tendencies to cut inside from the right wing. And we do know, how it all turned out to be when Chelsea last signed a player from LOSC Lille. Chelsea fans can be hoping for something similar to happen if this deal does go through.
#3 Antoine Griezmann
The biggest name on the list, Antoine Griezmann announced a few days back through a video on social media that he would be leaving Atletico Madrid at the end of the season. The 28-year-old has been leading the Atletico attack consistently over the years.
A proven goalscorer and a chance creator, Griezmann is pacy, technically brilliant and has a fitness level which is worth envying. The world cup winner with France has missed just 1 competitive game in his career through injury.
Griezmann can play as a false-9, a centre-forward or on the flanks which makes it difficult for the opposition to track him during the game as he can switch positions to suit the gameplay of the team. He has 21 goals and 10 assists for Atletico this season and his goalscoring abilities will be a huge boost for Chelsea as they have often been misfiring in front of the net which has affected their results.
A player of Griezmann’s abilities will not come cheap and Atletico is holding out his entire release clause of £108 million to facilitate the transfer. Chelsea will have to break the bank to get his signature but the amount is totally worth it for one of the most complete players in the game.
#2 Hirving Lozano
Hirving Lozano came to the spotlight to the world when he bamboozled Germany with Mexico in the World Cup as he thrived in a counterattacking system and showcased what he is capable of.
The Mexican international has been on form this season and has been involved in 21 goals (13 goals and eight assists) in 19 appearances for PSV. Although he has been playing in a league which isn’t among the top leagues in Europe, he surely has the potential to be the best in the world if he is given the chance.
But nevertheless, a move to a major team in Europe is not far off with many clubs knocking on his door and a move is imminent in the near future. The Blues might look to him and Lozano may well provide to be an able replacement for Hazard.
#1 Leon Bailey
Leon Bailey made a name for himself in the Bundesliga last season as he helped Leverkusen to a fifth-place finish in the league and was a vital part of the team along with Julian Brandt. Although his numbers weren’t great, his impact and effectiveness show that he has much more to offer.
In 30 appearances last season, he scored nine and assisted six more goals. This season, the whole team’s poor form has coincided with his poor form and that shows why Leverkusen are seventh in the league. Now with Peter Bosz at the helm, Bailey is slowly integrating himself back into form and being more influential in attacks for the club.
If Chelsea do make a move for the Jamaican international, they can be sure that a young talent like him can fill in Hazard’s boots.
Eden Hazard moved to Chelsea from Lille in the summer of 2012 for a fee of €35 million and he has been a mainstay at the Stamford Bridge ever since. The Belgian international has become one of the best wingers in the world.
He has been involved in 189 (104 goals and 85 assists) goals in 331 appearances for the London club. With his contract running out in 2020, Hazard has reiterated his desire to play for Real Madrid time and again.
With Chelsea already having problems in attack and the need for a squad revamp, it will be a summer to look forward to for Chelsea fans. Come summer, Chelsea will look to cash in on the Belgian international rather than lose him for free the next summer. If he does end up leaving the Bridge, we take a look at some possible replacements for him at Chelsea.