Chelsea line up TWO Eden Hazard replacements Real Madrid deal looms | Football | Sport

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That’s according to BBC Sport expert David Ornstein.

The Blues cannot currently sign players this summer or next January after the world’s governing body conducted an investigation into the signing of under-18 players and found the club guilty of breaching rules.

Chelsea plan to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after an unsuccessful appeal in the hope that they can at least have their ban held off to allow them to sign players this summer.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have previously had their bans delayed but Chelsea’s appeal may not yet be heard for another few months.

What impact that will have on Hazard’s future is as of yet unknown but the Belgian has long been expected to depart for Real Madrid, who he has flirted with a move to since last summer’s World Cup.

Eden Hazard’s situation at Stamford Bridge is complicated by his contract, which expires in 12 months’ time, leaving Chelsea needing to find a resolution this summer if they want to avoid losing their star forward for nothing.

But Ornstein insists Chelsea have not given up all hope on keeping Hazard, although they have made contingency plans in case the 28-year-old does indeed seal his dream move to the Bernabeu.

And the transfer insider believes Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who has struggled at the Nou Camp over the last 12 months, and Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha are both on the west London club’s radar. 

Ornstein told BBC Radio 5 Live: “The Hazard question could be contingent to the transfer ban because despite reports to the contrary, his mooted move to Real Madrid is not done. 

“[Chelsea director] Marina Granovskaia is putting up a fight on that one. 

“If he is sold and the transfer ban is delayed, then I’ve told they’ve got an interest in Philippe Coutinho. 

“His agent is Kia Joorabchian who Chelsea have done a number of deals with in the past. 

“There’s possibly also interest in Wilfried Zaha as a replacement for Hazard. 

“Zaha, I’m told, if the price is right could well leave Palace this summer despite many Palace fans knowing that’s a bit of a doomsday scenario.”

Discussing the possibility of Chelsea’s two-window transfer ban being upheld, manager Maurizio Sarri thinks an inability to continue reshaping his squad would hinder his hopes of progress.

He said: “It’s very difficult to cover the gap, at the moment. We need to work. Probably we’d need something from the market. So it’s not easy because the level of the top two is very, very high.

“I don’t believe in buying 10 players. I think we have to buy only one or two players. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to improve immediately. I think we are a very good team, and so we need only one or two players, no more. 

“And, as we can see in Europe, it’s not easy. We have to work and we have to try, of course. In my opinion, we can reduce the gap.”

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