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Chelsea warned Hazard saga will 'end in tears' if Sarri speaks out against Real Madrid target

14:30 GMT 26/01/2019
Eden Hazard Chelsea 2018-19
Ex-Blues striker Chris Sutton is surprised to see a star man being questioned in public, especially with so much uncertainity surrounding his future

Chelsea have been warned that Maurizio Sarri’s public questioning of Eden Hazard could “end in tears”, with Chris Sutton surprised to see such a risk being taken.

Speculation regarding the long-term future of the Belgium international at Stamford Bridge continues to rage, and it is not helped by Hazard himself keeping the rumour mill ticking over with admissions of his ambition to try his luck in Spain.

Chelsea are understandably reluctant to part with their talismanic winger whom they would prefer to tie down on fresh terms, but Sarri has branded the 28-year-old “more an individual player than a leader”.

The Blues boss has also claimed that “potential is higher than his performances”, despite seeing a key man deliver 10 goals and as many assists in Premier League competition this season.

“I don’t get it, I don’t understand that,” former Chelsea striker Sutton told The Sportsman’s Perfect 10.

“I don't think there needs to be the panic at Chelsea. I think the first half of the season went pretty well and there’s be a bit of a blip, but when you come out and criticise players publically it normally ends in tears.

“It will be interesting to see how the Chelsea players react, but history tells us that it doesn’t normally end well.”

While uncertainty reigns when it comes to Hazard, Sarri has moved to bolster his attacking ranks by taking Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juventus.

That agreement includes an option to buy, which seems likely given that the Italian coach has worked with the frontman before at Napoli.

Questions have been asked of the 31-year-old’s ability to hit the ground running as an untested performer in English football, but Sutton expects him to prove a shrewd addition.

He added: “Higuain’s a player that Sarri knows well and he had his best season under him at Napoli where he scored 36 goals.

"He’s 31 years old and does go against the grain of Chelsea’s signings policy, but I think he’s vital. He will be a focal point and his goal scoring is proven.

"I know people will say that he’s not played in England before, but he’s scored goals at the top level.

"The fact he’s played under Sarri, you’d think he’d fit in pretty seamlessly.”

Chelsea, who booked their place in the Carabao Cup final with a midweek penalty shootout victory over Tottenham, will be back in action on Sunday when they face Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup fourth round.