Eden Hazard could leave Stamford Bridge because of Antonio Conte’s tactics fear Chelsea teammates
Chelsea players are under the impression that Antonio Conte could be the main reason behind Eden Hazard’s summer departure. Real Madrid is his most likely destination with the Blues hoping to pursue their star player to sign a contract extension. They are willing to offer him a mammoth deal with wages over £300,000-a-week with a contract that will run beyond 2020 when his current deal will expire.
However, given the club’s recent struggles, Hazard is reported to be unwilling to put pen to paper to a new deal. He is instead stalling and waiting for any sort of offer from Los Blancos. Now, his teammates feel that Conte’s insistence to play Hazard as false 9 might finally drive the Belgian out of the Stamford Bridge.
Conte and Hazard: no longer the perfect couple?
Hazard has stated time and again that he does not enjoy playing as a false 9. He once again aired his frustration after a dour loss to Manchester City. After the match, he said:
“When you leave the pitch you have the impression that you ran, but you haven’t played a game of football. That’s a pity. We could have played on for three hours and I wouldn’t touch a ball. Only in the end it went better. In the last 10-15 minutes, we had more possession, but we should have tried to do that all game.”
“When the manager plays me up front, I try to give everything. We haven’t played a good game. For me personally its difficult to play a good game when you only touch the ball three times.”
“I try to jump towards the long balls. I played against Otamendi and Laporte. It’s not easy to win duels against them. We haven’t played with our qualities. If Giroud or Morata would have played up front, it would have been easier to play those long balls. With me, it’s a little bit more complicated, but I’ve tried to do my best.”
Hazard on the false 9 position:
February 22 – "You don't get a lot of balls. I think I might have touched 25 balls—and 15 of them were flying toward my head!
5th March – “We could have played on for three hours, and I wouldn’t touch a ball.”#StopPlayingHimThere
— َ (@HakimZ10i) March 6, 2018
It’s the second week in a row that Hazard has publicly vented out his frustration. He was asked to do a similar job against Barcelona and the result was similar too.
Conte uses the former Lille player in the false 9 role whenever he deploys his team to play on the counter. He feels the mobility of Hazard along with Pedro and Willian can hurt any team on the counter. While great on paper, the tactic has not worked on the pitch as Hazard is not cut out to play up front.
Chelsea officials know very well that they can resist any offer for the Belgian. However, if he decides to leave then there is no stopping him. These are tough times at Stamford Bridge. Should it come to the point where Chelsea must choose between Conte and Hazard, I feel they should opt for Conte. The Italian has the nous, experience and flexibility to usher in a new era at Chelsea given the full backing of the board.