Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia may need to sell four players to allow Eden Hazard return

Chelsea 3-1 Southampton: Picture highlights

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Chelsea have reportedly entered ‘informal’ talks to complete the sensational transfer return of Eden Hazard from Real Madrid. Hazard departed Stamford Bridge to join Real in a blockbuster £100million deal in 2019 but his career in Spain has failed to take off. 

The Chelsea favourite has had a torrid time with Real. He has scored just five times in 51 appearances and has faced the wrath of the club’s supporters.  

It is a stark contrast to his form in West London. Hazard bagged 110 goals in 352 matches after joining from Lille just after Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League success.  

He has now been linked with a move back to Chelsea, with Roman Abramovich believed to feel that the 30-year-old can rediscover his form as one of the world’s best players.  

Spanish outlet El Nacional have claimed that informal talks have already taken place between the Premier League side and the LaLiga outfit. 

But Thomas Tuchel’s squad is already packed with talent and Chelsea might need to balance their accounts to fund the return of Hazard.  

Express Sport looks at four players who sporting director Marina Granovskaia could sell to help aid the purchase of the club’s former star. 

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Hakim Ziyech 

Tuchel has a wealth of talent available to him for the two spot wide of Lukaku and adding Hazard might give the German a headache.  

That means that one – or more – might end up making way.  

Ziyech would surely be a contender given that his £34m move in 2020 has so far failed to work out as well as some of Chelsea’s other recent signings.  

The Morocco international often finds himself below the likes of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and even Timo Werner for a place supporting Lukaku.  

He has scored just seven times and has registered only four assists in 45 appearances. 

Callum Hudson-Odoi 

Similarly to Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi would find himself even further down the pecking order should Hazard return.  

Tuchel has of course often used the 20-year-old in a wing-back position, but even there he appears to be behind Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta.  

There is an argument that Hudson-Odoi needs to move on to kickstart his career and to realise the incredible potential he showed as a teenager.  

The England attacker has been on the scene for a while having made his debut aged just 17 in 2018. He was linked with a move away under Frank Lampard but stuck around, only to find game time limited under Tuchel, too.  

Hudson-Odoi has played in just 1,253 minutes under the 47-year-old. That is the equivalent of just under 14 full matches.

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Ross Barkley  

It seems a long time ago now that Barkley was hailed as one of the most promising talents in English football.  

28 in December, the former Everton man’s Chelsea career has hardly gone to plan.  

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Injuries have frustrated his time at Stamford Bridge and he now finds himself behind a wave of big-money talent. A loan at Aston Villa last term had its highs and lows.  

Barkley has made three appearances across all competitions this season, amounting to just 36 minutes.  

A departure might be a good move for all parties, with Barkley afforded a fresh start and Chelsea able to free a space for Hazard. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek  

Loftus-Cheek finds himself in a similar quandary to Barkley. No longer a young player able to bide his time, the now 25-year-old needs to play football. 

The Cobham graduate has had a couple of differing loan spells. He impressed at Crystal Palace in 2017-18 but endured a frustrating time at relegated Fulham last term.  

Loftus-Cheek appeared to finally break into the Chelsea team under Maurizio Sarri and even scored a hat-trick in a 2018 Europa League victory against BATE Borisov.  

But an achilles injury kept the dynamic midfielder out for the best part of a year. 

Like a couple of other fringe members of the Chelsea squad, Loftus-Cheek, who has played five times this term, could benefit from a permanent transfer. 
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