Chelsea wizard Eden Hazard is very much seen as the maestro to pull the strings to give Belgium safe passage past England at the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The Three Lions, bossed by Gareth Southgate and including Blues defender Gary Cahill and midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, join Belgium along with Tunisia and Panama to do battle for qualification from the tournament’s Group G.
But the question on the fans of the Blues as the competition gets set to kick-off is, will the diminutive playmaker be at Stamford Bridge come the start of the new Premier League season? Why not visit Ladbrokes Sports Betting to find out the latest odds not only on whether Eden Hazard will stay or go but also for a flutter on the World Cup which starts in the next couple of days.
It is fair to say there is an air of uncertainty at the club since the curtain came down on a season in which the FA Cup was lifted but fifth place in the league table meant that it is Europa League football next season as opposed to the far more prestigious Champions League.
As he prepares to shine on the world stage in Russia, Hazard has conceded that despite getting his hands on silverware, the overall campaign under Conte last season was one of disappointment.
Hazard, who has two years remaining on his current contract, said: “At the moment I only focus on the World Cup. We had a bad season with Chelsea. We won the FA Cup at the end — so it was a little bit better but I’m only focused on the World Cup. Then I let the board manage Chelsea the best way that they can.”
Clearly Hazard wants to know who will be at the helm next season. This, in turn, will determine the recruitment policy over the summer, so crucial to getting a feel for the season ahead.
Indeed, when he was quizzed about the situation of uncertainty surrounding Conte’s position, he admitted: “Yeah I want to know. I want to know, but I am focused on the World Cup. If we have something new — manager or players — it is always good to know it because I want players that can help bring success back to Chelsea next season. But the transfer market is not here in full flow yet. We will see after.”
Meanwhile, Cahill has spoken of his nervousness about being selected for England, having missed out on the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He said: “I played the majority of qualifying games for two years and then I was left out in. Other people were in form, playing well, it is what it is.
“The thing I keep harping back to is dig into your character and make sure you perform well for your club to give yourself the opportunity. That’s all I tried to do. At that moment I took a knock – it’s not the first I’ve taken and I’ve had a lot of good times in football. I just needed to work harder, get in the team and show what I could do. On the last day of the season I lifted the cup and there was the turnaround. It can happen quickly.”