Eden Hazard has been told by former Belgium assistant manager Vital Borkelmans that “now is the moment” to leave Chelsea, while Thibaut Courtois, Marouane Fellaini and Toby Alderweireld are also tipped to be on the move.
A difficult 2017-18 campaign for Chelsea and the ongoing uncertainty that has brought in both a playing and coaching capacity has seen plenty of high-profile figures linked with summer moves away from Stamford Bridge.
Hazard is chief among them, with the 27-year-old playmaker having been mooted as a Real Madrid target for some time now as he continues to leave the exit door open in west London.
Borkelmans believes this could be the summer in which a big-money transfer is done, with the time having arrived for a man considered to be a member of the global elite to prove that he truly belongs in that company.
“He has played a lot of years in the Premier League, but I think it’s time for him to move on.”
Hazard could well be joined in Spain next season by current club and international colleague Courtois, with the Chelsea goalkeeper another long-standing target for Madrid.
Borkelmans added on the 26-year-old’s future: “If the club are offered good money, then I think he will go.
“He likes Chelsea and is happy there, but it could be time for him to make a transfer to another country for a different type of competition.”
While Chelsea may be facing a fight to keep two prized assets, they are expected to welcome another Belgian back onto their books in the form of Michy Batshuayi – who impressed on loan at Borussia Dortmund last season before picking up an unfortunate injury.
“Batshuayi won’t leave until he finds out what’s going on with the managerial status at Chelsea,” said Borkelmans.
“He wants to play first-team football, but if Chelsea find a new manager and Batshuayi fits the role, then he will stay.
“He was successful at Dortmund and they will want to keep him, so that’s always an option, but he is a great player, especially in the box, as he always has a knack of finding space.”
Of the other Belgians being linked with moves elsewhere this summer, Borkelmans feels the end of the road may have been reached for Fellaini and Alderweireld at Manchester United and Tottenham respectively.
He said on reported Arsenal target Fellaini: “He may have to leave to find regular football, he likes to play and wants to get a lot of games, but if he can’t then he may have to move on.”
And added on United-linked Alderweireld: “I think Alderweireld will leave this window and he may take the chance to move abroad. [Mousa] Dembele may do the same as well, as every team is looking to have a player like Alderweireld or Dembele.
“They’ve played a few years at Tottenham now and for as many good players that Tottenham have brought in, they have also lost some.”