Antonio Conte will be a happy man seeing the progress of his Chelsea side in his first ever stint in England. The manager will now be looking to improve the squad next season and though new signings are required, Conte should make sure that star players stay at the club for the next season. But the likes of Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois have been constantly linked with an exit recently. And one such player who is inching closer to an exit this summer is Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard. One of the most productive players in his position in the league at the moment, Hazard is linked with a move to the Bernabeu with Zinedine Zidane ready to pay in excess of £100m this summer. Though Conte will not want to sell, it is an insane amount which cannot be ignored and the manager should have an idea as to how to replace him. With the window getting closer, here are three options for Chelsea to replace the Belgian this summer.
James Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
Though constantly linked with a move to the Allianz Arena and Anfield, Rodriguez is still up for grabs this summer with Zidane ready to let him leave and he could be a superb option for Chelsea. With five goals and 12 assists in all competitions this season, the Colombian international has been in decent form but is looking to manufacture a move for regular playing time. And if Chelsea lose Hazard to Real, the 25-year old could be a straight swap for the Belgian at the Bridge. He is more productive in a number 10 role but is capable of playing on the wing and Conte can also use this versatility.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Arguably the best option for Chelsea to replace Hazard with is the Chilean from the Emirates who is currently unsettled. The 28-year old versatile attacker has been impeccable for Arsenal this season, scoring 22 goals and picking up an astonishing 18 assists in all competitions. He has been the most productive player for Arsenal by a long distance this season but is yet to extend his contract that expires at the end of the next season.
Sanchez recently revealed that he is happy in London, may be hinting on a move to Chelsea and Conte is already plotting a move for him this summer. If Chelsea lose Hazard, they should do whatever it takes to land the 28-year old at the Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
Dries Mertens (Napoli)
One of the most productive players in Europe this season, Mertens is in the form of his life at Naples this campaign. He has scored an astonishing 25 goals and has also picked up 11 assists in all competitions, helping Napoli to a strong finish. However, he is unsettled and is looking for a better challenge and has reportedly turned down a lucrative deal in Italy for a move this summer. Manchester United have already opened talks with the player but Chelsea should make a move for him if they lose Hazard to Real. Mertens has been effective through the middle of the park this season but the 29-year old is expected to replace Hazard on the wing at Chelsea if he makes the move.
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