Eden Hazard will not stay at Chelsea if Antonio Conte remains head coach of the Stamford Bridge club.
This is according to Tony Cascarino, the former Blues forward, who was writing in his column in Monday’s edition of The Times .
Cascarino’s claim comes one day after Hazard was forced to lead the line for Chelsea in their 1-0 defeat at Manchester City , which took Pep Guardiola’s side one step closer to the 2017/18 Premier League title.
The Belgium international, naturally a winger, has been deployed as a false nine on other occasions this year to little success.
But never has the experiment been such a failure as it was at the Etihad; Hazard was not a false nine, he was just false.
Little blame has been directed at Hazard, however, despite his poor performance.
Conte’s decision to take Chelsea to Manchester with no ambition to attack has been seen as the real problem at Stamford Bridge, as it was not the first time in 2017/18 the reigning Premier League champions have played against a ‘big’ team with no desire to do anything but defend for their lives, to withstand a siege only invited due to Conte’s negativity.
And Cascarino feels this mentality could drive Hazard out of Chelsea.
The only way Hazard will remain at the Bridge, according to Cascarino, will be if Conte himself leaves the Blues, with a more offensive manager replacing the Italian.
“The biggest damage that Antonio Conte is doing to Chelsea by asking his team to play conservatively is that the flair players will want out,” Cascarino wrote.
“If Eden Hazard has the ambition to be the best player in the world — which he does — then there is no way he will stay if you’re asking him to play like a League One forward; that’s the consequence of playing in that defensive style.
“Yes, the ugly side of the game is needed, and Manchester City’s midfielders are asked to work hard, but their overall emphasis is on attacking football , whereas Hazard will come off the pitch thinking: “What chance have I got to show what I can do?” Hazard’s idol is Zinédine Zidane. If Conte remains Chelsea manager, why would Hazard stay if Real Madrid come calling?”