Chelsea have a problem.
The man who has single-handedly carried their team for the past few years wants out of Stamford Bridge. We’re not exactly sure why – you’d think he loves being involved in top four races and playing sleep-inducing Sarriball – but make no mistake, Eden Hazard is pining for a move.
Real Madrid have made him their number one summer transfer target, allegedly instructing the Belgian to help force through a move to the Bernabeu. Worryingly for the Blues, Madrid always get what they want.
Well, except when a fax machine is involved.
However, it is entirely possible Chelsea can keep hold of their prized asset this summer – something doubly important when they’re staring down the barrel of a transfer ban. They just need to put our advice into action…
Negotiate a Withdrawal Agreement that never actually gets agreed
If Hazard has decided to leave the club, then the Blues must respect his will. But seeing as he’s under contract until 2020, a satisfactory Withdrawal Agreement must be agreed between all parties before any transfer can be sanctioned.
If politics has taught us anything recently, this is where Chelsea can really drag things out to make life as difficult as possible. It’s simple to do: just tell Hazard they’ll definitely sign the deal with Real Madrid on an arbitrary date – let’s say 11pm on 29 June 2019 – and then just before they sign on the dotted line, push back the date. Then push it back again. And again. And again.
Soon enough the transfer window will slam shut and Hazard will be lining up in west London at the start of next season, rather than some god awful sun-drenched city in the EU.
Get Roman Abramovich to make it worth his while
He may have taken a few financial hits recently, but with a net worth of £10bn, Chelsea’s owner isn’t having to resort to food banks just yet.
We’re certain he can give Hazard one or a few million reasons why he should stay put. Whether it’s a lump sum payout, thousands of shares in lucrative oil companies, or a couple of gleaming superyachts is up to the Russian.
And if Hazard fails to take up this most generous of offers, Abramovich can send him on a farewell trip to Salisbury Cathedral with a few of his definitely-not-dodgy mates. How lovely.
Offer him a guest slot on The Grand Tour
Chelsea are blessed with a huge number of superstar fans: Tubes from Soccer AM, Johnny Vaughan and Rimmer off of Red Dwarf to name just a few. But the most frequently seen on matchdays is one Jeremy Clarkson.
Jezza will be as keen as anyone for his beloved Blues to keep hold of their star man, so why not bribe him with a guest slot on The Grand Tour? We’re sure he could take time out of his busy schedule of punching producers and being crap at answering questions on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? to get it all set up.
Just don’t put him in a rocket-powered car, whatever you do.
Convince him ball boys are much tougher in Spain
Cast your mind back to January 2013 when Hazard landed himself in hot water for kicking a time-wasting Swansea ball boy. Luckily for the winger, the ball boy didn’t fight back and the only punishment he faced was a straight red card.
So, to dissuade Hazard from moving, Chelsea could feed the Belgian propaganda that the repercussions would be far more severe in Spain should he ever be tempted to kick out again. The Blues definitely have the budget to produce some staged incidents where ball boys fight back, perhaps with some knuckle dusters, just for good measure.
Tell him John Terry will look after his wife
If Chelsea are forced to accept a Real Madrid offer, Hazard will inevitably have to make several trips to the Spanish capital to negotiate the finer aspects of the deal. Oh, and pose for those weird topless thumbs up medical pictures they insist on doing over there.
Hazard won’t want to force his family to keep jetting back and forth while the move is finalised. So being the kind and compassionate club Chelsea are, they could offer the help of their hero former captain John Terry with keeping Hazard’s wife company.
We’re sure the upstanding gentleman that he is would jump at the chance to help out a former teammate’s partner like this. What could possibly go wrong?