LONDON - Real Madrid have launched ‘Operation Eden Hazard’ - but it will take a world-record fee for them to have any chance of signing the Chelsea star.
The fight is on to secure Hazard’s long-term future, with the Blues aware of the Spanish giants’ intention to make him their next Galactico.
It remains to be seen whether Chelsea’s resolve to keep the Belgian will weaken if an offer above the world record £89.3million Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba is tabled.
The £100m barrier is likely to be broken for the first time if and when Real come calling.
Chelsea are yet to receive an
offer so far from Real for the brilliant 26-year-old.
And as it stands, the Stamford Bridge club have no intention of letting their superstar leave for any price.
Spanish newspaper Marca - widely acknowledged as the club’s mouthpiece - ran with a front page story suggesting Chelsea are open to selling the forward in summer.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane is a huge fan of Hazard and is the driving force behind the club’s interest, which is not always the case at the Santiago Bernabeu.
But suggestions that Hazard is learning Spanish ahead of a move to Madrid are wide of the mark.
He is well aware of Real’s interest but is taking a relaxed view on his future.
He is not pushing to leave this summer, which strengthens Chelsea’s position to keep their star player, who moved to the Premier League from Lille in 2012.
It all points to the winger remaining in west London for at least next season. Indeed the Blues are likely to initiate discussions over a new deal to ward off Los Blancos.
However, history tells us that Real often get what they want and a serious play for Hazard this summer could become a headache Chelsea would rather do without.
Whether Hazard stays or goes, Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is a top option for Chelsea as boss Antonio Conte looks to strengthen ahead of a Champions League campaign next season.
Despite reports that an agreement has been reached with the 22-year-old Frenchman, who has also been watched by Manchester United, it is understood talks are ongoing.
Chelsea weighed up an offer in January but Bakayoko, whose current deal expires in 2019, wanted to see out the season in France.
Monaco lead PSG by three points at the top of Ligue 1 and face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-finals next month.
Bakayoko scored the decisive goal against Manchester City in the Champions League in mid-March.
There were Arsenal and Manchester United scouts present at the Stade Louis II for that 3-1 win, which saw Monaco go through on away goals after a 6-6 draw on aggregate.
Chelsea are also confident they can win the race to sign Rangers starlet Billy Gilmour.
The 15-year-old has also attracted interest from the Manchester clubs as well as Bayern Munich.
Rangers were hopeful they could convince the Scotland youth international to stay, believing he has a better chance of breaking into their first team rather than clogging up the systems of super-clubs.
But Gilmour is expected to make his move after turning 16, and Chelsea are front- runners to snap him up.