Thursday 19 July 2018

On-fire Hazard not at his peak yet - Conte

Chelsea's Eden Hazard. Photo: REUTERS/David Klein
Chelsea's Eden Hazard. Photo: REUTERS/David Klein Sportsdesk

Antonio Conte believes the sky is the limit for Eden Hazard and he wants him to achieve it at Chelsea.

The brilliant Belgian made it nine goals in his last 10 games as he single-handedly took Newcastle apart at Stamford Bridge as the Blues continued to keep on the coat-tails of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

The 26-year-old has another two-and-a-half years remaining on his current contract but the club, understandably, want him around for as long as possible, with Conte of the belief his man of the moment is yet to reach his peak.

Both Hazard and goalkeeper and Belgium team-mate Thibaut Courtois are poised to light up the World Cup next summer and Conte admits he and the club want negotiations with both tied up to a positive conclusion before either set foot in Russia.

"It is normal during the season to have the contact between the player - or the agent of the player - and the club," he said. "I hope that at the end, Thibaut will sign his contract.

"If you ask me about these two players, I will be very happy when they can have this deal and this is the responsibility of the club to try to do this.

"But I can give my opinion about these two players and, for me, these two players are two great players - especially because they have a lot of space for improvement. They are very young players and it will be great to keep them with us."

The Blues are likely to have to make Hazard the highest-paid player in their history, but Conte believes it would be money well-spent.

"I don't think that Eden is at the peak of his career," he added. "I think he has a lot of improvement (to make). He is a young player and it's important for him to work, work, work in every training session to improve himself."

Irish Independent

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