Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly interested in bringing Eden Hazard back to Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid, but the Spanish side want Reece James in return.
The Belgium winger has struggled for form and fitness since making the switch to the Bernabeu in 2019 in a deal worth up to £150 million.
According to El Nacional, Real would consider cutting their losses and selling the winger, despite Chelsea’s reluctance to offer more than €40m (£34m) for a 30-year-old with a poor injury record.
Abramovich believes Hazard could rediscover his previous level of performance back in the Premier League, and the player would be open to a return after a difficult spell in the Spanish capital.
But Real could ask for James to be included in a swap deal, as the 21-year-old has a similar transfer value and Carlo Ancelotti’s side need a new right back.
While Hazard’s return to the Premier League would undoubtedly be a nice story, bringing in an injury-prone player approaching his 31st birthday at the expense of one of one’s brightest young talents doesn’t seem like the most sensible move.
It’s true that James has featured less under Thomas Tuchel this season, starting three Premier League games so far, but he represents the future for the Stamford Bridge club – and England.
Hazard’s talent is not up for debate, but his poor form at club level is a concern for a potential buyer, as well as a series of muscle injuries that restricted him to 14 league appearances last season.
Selling the Belgian for a fraction of his original value would be an embarrassing admission of bad business from the Spanish club, but by this stage they might want to take what they can get – Hazard’s return of five goals in 51 games for the Blancos hardly inspires confidence of an imminent upsurge.
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