Chelsea transfer news: Maurizio Sarri backed to make 'big difference' if he has ONE player
That is the verdict of former Premier League star Matt Le Tissier as speculation of Real Madrid pursuing Hazard persists.
Chelsea are in the midst of a summer of change kicked off by Sarri’s appointment as Antonio Conte’s successor.
A number of deals could be on the cards despite the Premier League transfer window shutting in less than 24 hours.
Chelsea’s attention after deadline day will turn to retaining the services of Hazard, who could still head to La Liga with Real before the end of August.
Sarri will be keen to have the winger among his ranks for at least his first season in England.
And Le Tissier – looking ahead at the new campaign – has backed the Italian to thrive at Chelsea if Hazard stays.
“The gap is just too big to bridge for any of the teams below [Manchester City], but I do think it will be closer and I think Liverpool will be the team providing the main competition,” Le Tissier told Sky Sports.
“I think Mourinho will struggle to get the same tune out of his team as they overachieved with second place considering how they played. It was more down to Mourinho’s pragmatism and I’m not sure how much longer the players will put up with it.
“For Emery at Arsenal, I think it will be a learning curve this season as there’s a lot of improvement required, but I’m backing Maurizio Sarri to make a big difference, as long as they keep hold of Eden Hazard.
“I know Tottenham have been slow in the market but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad sign as they are getting stronger as a unit and don’t need to bed new players in.”
Chelsea announced three deals on Wednesday evening as they looked to make up for a slow start to the transfer window.
Thibaut Courtois is on his way to Real, while Mateo Kovacic is heading in the opposite direction on loan for the season.
Chelsea have completed the £71.6m signing of Kepa Arrizabalaga to replace Courtois, with the Spaniard delighted to seal his switch.
“It’s a very important decision for me, for my career, and also for my personal life,” said Kepa.
“So many things attracted me to the club, all the titles the club has won, the other players, the city, the English Premier League. It’s an accumulation of things, and I am very glad Chelsea has decided to trust me and to take me in as well.”
Kepa emerged from a field of options which included Jack Butland and Sergio Rico to take Courtois’ place at Chelsea.
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia says the highly-rated stopper has long been in the Blues’ sights.
“Kepa is a talent we have admired for a long time and we are extremely excited about his arrival,” said Granovskaia.
“He has already demonstrated fantastic quality and consistency and will be a big part of any success Chelsea have in the coming years.
“His long-term contract reflects the belief we have in him and we look ahead to the coming seasons with an enormous sense of optimism.”