No sooner had Maurizio Sarri taken the Chelsea job than he was facing an uphill struggle to hold onto a number of key players.
The arrivals of Jorginho and Rob Green are unlikely to offset fears that the Blues’ failure to qualify for the Champions League could have serious consequences when it comes to keeping hold of their star men.
For example, after helping Belgium to third place in the World Cup, Eden Hazard hinted that his future lay away from Stamford Bridge.
“I’ve spent six years in England,” he said.
“I played a good World Cup. In the future you never know what’s going to happen.”
There are only 11 days left of the English transfer window and Real Madrid are well aware that they would need to allow Chelsea time to secure a replacement in order to get a deal over the line.
However, regardless of whether Hazard makes the move to the Spanish capital, it appears Los Blancos will not be allowing Sarri much peace.
REAL HAVE MADE AN OFFER
According to the Daily Mail, the European champions have now made a bid of £100million for Thibaut Courtois and Willian.
It was well known that the goalkeeper was in their sights as there has long been a question mark against Keylor Navas.
Willian, on the other hand, has been strongly linked with Barcelona, but they opted for sought-after attacking midfielder Malcom instead as they were unwilling to cough up the £70million Chelsea were demanding for the 29-year-old.
Real seem to have found a way around that by making a combined offer incorporating Courtois, who previously spent time in Madrid on loan with Atletico and still has family based in the city.
The Brazilian is a particularly attractive option because new manager Julen Lopetegui wants more wide players in order to free up Gareth Bale, the Welshman being tasked with replacing Cristiano Ronaldo.
This is described as an ‘opening’ offer which means Florentino Perez and co. could well be back for more if it isn’t accepted, though the newspaper have it that Chelsea are giving it serious thought.
There is no chance that Green is a replacement for Courtois and the stopper may only be allowed to leave if Jordan Pickford of Everton or Stoke City’s Jack Butland become available.
Ultimately, Sarri must feel he is up against it already and even if the club do some more business in the next few days, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the transfer window is going to work in their favour.