La Liga champions Barcelona have shortlisted Eden Hazard as their top priority this summer following his impressive performances at the World Cup.
Speculation of Hazard’s future at Chelsea has been at a record high ahead of the new campaign, with the Belgium international most recently being linked with a move to Real Madrid following the announcement of Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Italian giants Juventus.
But Barcelona will put all their eggs in one basket this summer as they look to add another superstar to their squad, with the club having hopes that Hazard’s arrival with soften the blow of Andrés Iniesta’s departure to join Japanese side Vissel Kobe.
“And if it isn’t Hazard, who else is it going to be?” a source close to Barcelona told Sport upon being asked about who their marquee signing would be this summer.
Barca had set aside €100m to sign Antoine Griezmann from rivals Atletico Madrid earlier this summer, but the balance remains after the Frenchman opted to stay in the capital.
However, Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo claim that Barça have pulled out of the race to sign Hazard after the club deemed the transfer to be ‘unviable’ ahead on the new season, instead opting to put their trust in former Liverpool talisman Philippe Coutinho.
The Blaugrana have also been made aware of an agreement between Maurizio Sarri and owner Roman Abramovich ahead of the Italian manager’s rumoured move to Stamford Bridge, where he will succeed their title-winning coach Antonio Conte.
The S.S.C. Napoli boss, who has been replaced by Carlo Ancelotti at the Stadio San Paolo, has demanded that Hazard remains at the club next season. Sarri has also requested that Willian, a target for both Barcelona and Manchester United, is also off limits during the summer transfer window.
Chelsea are yet to make any signings ahead of the new campaign, although rumours have broken that the west London outfit have reached a £40m agreement with Juventus over the signing of defender Daniele Rugani.
Fans at Stamford Bridge are desperate to see new players arrive at the club as they prepare to challenge for the Premier League title next season. However, the club’s first priority is reaching an agreement with Conte’s successor.