Eden Hazard “deserves” a move to Real Madrid, says Emmanuel Petit, but his departure is going to leave “boring” Chelsea struggling to “cope without him”.
The Belgium international forward is expected to complete a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer that has been mooted for some time.
Blancos president Florentino Perez has admitted to holding an interest, while the 28-year-old continues to drop subtle hints that his time in west London is coming to an end.
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His absence will be felt in west London, especially with a two-window transfer ban hanging over Chelsea, and Petit believes the Blues will struggle to fill a sizeable void in their squad.
The former midfielder told Paddy Power: “It would be a big, big loss for Chelsea if Eden Hazard left the club.
“For the last six years he has been marvellous for them – and this season has been one of his best so far, even if he wasn’t named in the Premier League team of the year.
“Chelsea have so many quality players, but none at Hazard’s level. He can do whatever he wants on the pitch and is capable of making decisions with the ball at his feet.
“Hazard going to Real Madrid would be a huge step for him – and he deserves it.
“But with the added complication of a transfer ban, if he goes then you look at Chelsea and wonder who is going to make the team alive on the pitch. Who is going to come up with the key dribbles, the key passes?
“Chelsea don’t have anyone else like Hazard. And because of the transfer ban, they don’t have the power to replace him. I don’t see how they can cope next year without him.”
Selling Hazard would leave Chelsea short on creativity in the final third and former Blues star Petit believes they are already a difficult watch even with a top talent on their books.
Maurizio Sarri has guided them to a top-four finish in the Premier League, along with Carabao Cup and Europa League finals, but questions are being asked of his methods and future in English football.
“I’ve been critical of Sarri in the past, particularly about some tactical decisions that I didn’t understand. But you have to give him the time to do what he wants to do with the team,” Petit added.
“If they win the Europa League, they’ll have a European trophy, which alongside their earlier Champions League qualification, translates to a good year for Chelsea.
“With all that in mind, there’s a lot to be happy about for the club. If you compare this season to the previous, he has probably achieved what the club asked him to do.
“Most of the time when watching Chelsea I get bored very easily, but the important thing is to win games and win trophies, and they’re in a good place to do that.”