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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 April 2019

Maurizio Sarri: Eden Hazard for £100m 'too cheap' after dazzling display for Chelsea against West Ham

Belgian forward scored both goals in the 2-0 win and was by far the best player on the pitch, although his future is far from certain with Real Madrid reported to be keen

Eden Hazard, right, is approaching the final year of his Chelsea contract. Reuters
Eden Hazard, right, is approaching the final year of his Chelsea contract. Reuters

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri insisted £100 million (Dh480.7m) is "too cheap" for Eden Hazard after the Belgian's mesmeric performance in the 2-0 win over West Ham United on Monday night.

Hazard scored both goals at Stamford Bridge - the first a goal of the season contender when he slalomed through the West Ham defence - and was head and shoulders above every player of the pitch as Chelsea moved up to third in the Premier League table.

The Belgium captain's latest star showing, which moved him on to 19 goals in all competitions, was the latest demonstration of how crucial he is to Chelsea.

However, Hazard's future at the club is far from certain as he approaches the final year of his contract and with Real Madrid widely reported to be interested in taking him to the Bernabeu in the summer.

Those reports have claimed a transfer fee of £100m will be enough to tempt Chelsea to sell their best player, but Sarri believes that figure is too low, but the Italian said he would not block Hazard from leaving.

"It is too cheap in this market! We have seen in the last few windows every price I think," Sarri said. "I'm sure the club doesn't want to sell him, but of course we all have to respect his decision.

"He is in the last season of contract, if he wants to have another experience we have to respect it. We will try in any way to convince him, but it is not easy."

The prospect of losing Hazard is even more daunting for Chelsea as they are currently banned from signing any new players due to a one-year transfer ban imposed by Fifa.

"From the technical point of view no, not at the moment," added Sarri when asked if Chelsea can cope without Hazard.

"Also because it is impossible to find another Hazard. At the moment there is not another Hazard, because the level is too high."

Hazard 'focused until end of the season'

Victory ensured Chelsea moved two points clear of Tottenham Hotspur and three ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal in the race for a top-four finish.

Both their London rivals and Manchester United - five points back in sixth - now have a game in hand on Sarri's men.

But Hazard insisted he is focused solely on delivering Uefa Champions League football for Chelsea next season either via a top-four finish or winning the Europa League.

"For now I am just focusing on Chelsea until the end of the season," he said. "I want to finish in the top four and do well in the Europa League. We still have a lot to do and then we will see."

With trips to Liverpool and Manchester United to come in Chelsea's last five league games, much will depend on Hazard with Gonzalo Higuain showing little sign of hitting form.

The Argentine striker stated his desire before kick-off to make his move permanent should Chelsea successfully appeal their transfer ban, but he had another night to forget in front of goal.

"When Hazard is able to play like in the last two matches of course for the team it is easier," Sarri said. "We can win against every team."

Updated: April 9, 2019 10:02 AM

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