How Chelsea could line up WITHOUT Eden Hazard next season after Real Madrid move announced | Football | Sport
Real signed their man for £88million with the possibility of the fee rising to £130m.
Chelsea are also awaiting a verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, having appealed a ban imposed on them by FIFA over their past recruitment of foreign minors.
The young Englishman forced his way into Chelsea’s starting XI in the season just gone with his impressive performances in the Europa League.
His fellow academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek had his best goalscoring season with the Blues, hitting double figures for the first time, but is also out with the same injury as Hudson-Odoi’s.
One former Premier League star being linked with Chelsea is Philippe Coutinho, who has reportedly told Barcelona he wants to leave Catalonia this summer. The Brazilian would slot right in to a midfield three, leaving Mateo Kovacic out in the cold.
Jorginho, despite his lacklustre performances in his debut season, will probably be given the chance to improve with a season in Europe’s toughest league under his belt.
Along the backline, don’t be surprised to see David Luiz, who signed a new contract, feature less and less in a centre-back partnership, while Andreas Christensen is expected to force a move away.
Cesar Azpilicueta could move into a central role at the back, arguably where he flourished best under Antonio Conte. Reece James, who spent last season at Wigan, has returned to west London, and is already a big hit with Blues fans.
Emerson should retain his place at the left-back position, providing that outgoing manager Maurizio Sarri doesn’t bring the Brazilian-Italian with him to Juventus.
Keep Arrizabalaga has a promising season in between the sticks after becoming the world’s most expensive goalkeeper last summer. He should be comforted by the fact that stalwart defender Antonio Rudiger is yet to provide more cover in defence once he returns from a knee injury.
Joining Hudson-Odoi in a front three will be Christian Pulisic, who signed from Borussia Dortmund back in January for £57m.
Chelsea have suffered some serious striker problems in recent months and will be on the lookout for a new hit-man this summer, with Gonzalo Higuain likely to head back to Italy.
And who better than Mauro Icardi to fill that goalless void up front. The Argentine has scored 111 goals in 188 league appearances for Inter Milan and could be just the man that Chelsea are looking for, if their ban is overturned.
Here’s how Chelsea could look next season without Eden Hazard in their side:
Kepa; Reece James, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Emerson Palmieri; Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Philippe Coutinho; Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mauro Icardi