Sunday 25 February 2018

Real Madrid up their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe after cooling interest in Chelsea's Eden Hazard

Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe

Miguel Delaney

Real Madrid will now fully focus on beating a host of Premier League clubs to Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe as their major attacking signing this summer, having cooled their interest in Chelsea’s Eden Hazard after the Belgian captain was ruled out for three months with an ankle injury.

The Spanish and European champions had been planning a dual pursuit of Hazard and Mbappe in the hope of bringing one in as their ‘Galactico’ signing this summer, only for that to be scuppered by an ankle fracture the Chelsea star suffered in Belgium training on Monday.

Although Hazard has already undergone surgery, it is now seen as "highly unlikely" by Madrid sources that they will continue their pursuit, meaning it could be a partial positive for Chelsea despite the playmaker missing the start of next season.

Real will instead devote more energy to clinching the signing of 2016/17 revelation Mbappe. The Monaco forward's supreme performances have attracted much interest - and some concrete bids - from clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, as well as a world-record asking price of £135m due to the long-term investment he represents given his talent and application at the age of just 18.

There has been a recent growing belief in France that Mbappe will give Monaco another year to aid his own development, but Real feel they can beat Premier League opposition to persuade the Ligue 1 champions to sell the teenager.

That is likely to be aided by the certain sales of Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez, and it is yet possible that they themselves could be persuaded to sell Gareth Bale.

United are interested in both the Welsh winger and Morata, although the latter is personally more interested in moving to former club Juventus. James is meanwhile likely to go to one of AC Milan or Internazionale.

The future of David De Gea could further influence Real's plans, although United are maintaining a tough negotiating position.

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