Former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf has acknowledged that Eden Hazard “has to go” this summer following a stellar season that came on the back of intense speculation of a move to Real Madrid last summer – but believes the club should keep manager Maurizio Sarri.
Hazard has been Chelsea’s standout player in a season that has seen the Blues finish third in the Premier League despite an inconsistent campaign and reach finals of the Carabao Cup, which they lost on penalties to Manchester City, and the Europa League, where they will meet Arsenal on Wednesday in Baku.
The Belgian has one year left on his contract and thus, despite a looming transfer ban potentially preventing Chelsea from signing a replacement, Leboeuf believes it is time for the club to let the 28-year-old go, with Madrid expected to sign him during the ongoing transfer window.
“Eden has one year, so he has to go. The club have to think financially,” the former Blues centre-back told The Sun.
“They managed to keep him last year when it was almost sure he would go to Real Madrid, and he had a very good year.
“If you try to keep him, he won’t be as good as he was — because he will be unhappy to stay.
“We have to wish him luck, thank him and find another fantastic player to replace him.”
Meanwhile, Sarri’s future at the club remains in doubt with the Italian having come under criticism this season, for uninspiring tactics and a handful of remarkably poor displays.
And the Italian is also being linked with a return to his home country, with Juventus reportedly considering him as a replacement for Massimiliano Allegri and Roma also a potential destination in the Serie A.
But Leboeuf believes it would be a mistake for Chelsea to let Sarri go.
“If Sarri wins the Europa League and they have qualified for the Champions League, he should stay.
“You have to find that stability, like Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, to win lots of trophies.”