Chelsea face a testing time as the World Cup in Russia unfolds, with two huge stars said to be on their way out of Stamford Bridge in the shape of Eden Hazard and David Luiz.
With the managerial situation at Chelsea still subject to a great deal of speculation, the club haven’t yet recruited any new players ahead of the new Premier League season.
It would seem increasingly likely with the best UK free bets that ex-Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri will come in to replace Antonio Conte before long and that could spark a flurry of activity. There are a number of managers competing for the role according to the betting odds. The likes of Brendan Rodgers are 25/1 on SkyBet. Massimiliano Allegri is at 20/1 after his links to Arsenal a few months back.
It is players going out that is of concern, though. Hazard, currently showing exactly why he is so highly rated as he helps people Belgium’s FIFA World Cup bid, is on the Real Madrid radar, while Luiz is now wanted by Italian giants Napoli.
Chelsea’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League and Hazard’s continued reticence to agree terms on an extension to his current contract — which expires in two years — means speculation concerning his future continues.
And while Hazard’s switch from the Blues to the Galacticos could be seen by many as an enticing prospect for the quick-footed attacker, one Chelsea star has urged caution over any move.
Cesc Fabregas, in an interview with the Telegraph, says he believes that if Hazard does eventually agree to put pen to paper on a new deal, he can go on to make his mark as one of the best players in the club’s history.
He said: “The World Cup won’t decide Eden’s future, I don’t think. Scouts follow you everywhere and he has done more than enough for clubs to see his talent, but I really hope he can stay at Chelsea for many years and become one of the biggest legends in the club’s history.
“He has all the attributes and the only piece missing is the Champions League. If he won that with Chelsea, then he would have everything at club level. If he stays, I’m sure he will be, if not the best, one of the best players Chelsea has ever had and will ever have.”
As for Luiz and the interest from Napoli, the Italians are said to be ready to go up to a fee of £26million for the ball-playing central defender. For a player aged 31 and seen by many to be perhaps past his best, that is a reasonable return. In remains to be seen if new Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti, who managed the Blues between 2009 and 2011, persuades club president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, to push through the deal.
Meanwhile, reports suggest that Greece star Kostas Manolas is ready to snub a move to the Blues and stay at Roma. Manolas, 27, is a target for the club as they look to beef up their backline but indications suggest a transfer isn’t going to happen any time soon. Instead, Chelsea are said to be currently working on a deal to recruit Juventus ace Daniele Rugani for around £35million.