Sunday 22 April 2018

Real's Hazard blow as Blues cool interest in Morata

'Morata has even told friends that he expects to move to Stamford Bridge' Photo: Getty
'Morata has even told friends that he expects to move to Stamford Bridge' Photo: Getty

Sam Wallace

Chelsea have cooled their interest in Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata as they prepare to concentrate their efforts on Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku this summer.

The news also represents a big blow to Real, who had hoped to use Chelsea's past interest in Morata as a way of attempting to open negotiations over Eden Hazard.

Chelsea failed with a bid for Morata last summer and had considered making a renewed move for the Spaniard at the end of this season.

Morata has even told friends that he expects to move to Stamford Bridge, but the situations regarding Sanchez and Lukaku have seen Chelsea switch their priorities.

Arsenal contract rebel Sanchez has emerged as a top target of head coach Antonio Conte, and Chelsea also hold a long-standing admiration of the player.

The Blues looked into the possibility of signing Sanchez before he moved to Barcelona from Udinese in 2011 and have followed his career ever since.

Chelsea are now one of a number of clubs carefully monitoring the situation of Sanchez, who is yet to sign a new contract at Arsenal and has only just over 12 months of his deal remaining.

Bidding

Should they receive any encouragement, then Chelsea will join Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Chinese clubs in bidding for the Chile international.

While there is an acceptance that Arsenal will be reluctant to sell to a Premier League rival, Chelsea believe they can land Sanchez, who has claimed he wants to remain in London.

Lukaku has told Everton that he will not sign a new contract, with Goodison Park insiders fearing he has set his heart on a return to Chelsea above all other potential moves.

It would cost Chelsea well over £100m to sign Sanchez and Lukaku but, with Diego Costa's future still in some doubt, they are prepared to spend the money.

Speculation in Spain had suggested that Real would try to use Morata as a bargaining chip in their bid to sign Hazard.

But the offer of Morata will hold no weight with Chelsea, who are desperate to resist any bids for their star player and want to reward his superb form with a new contract.

Chelsea are confident they can hold on to Hazard, with the 26-year-old and his family settled in their home near the club's Cobham training ground.

Hazard currently earns £200,000 a week, plus bonuses, but will see his wages rise closer to £300,000 a week if he signs a new contract. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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