Eden Hazard was forced off with an injury for Belgium against Estonia, but he is expected to be fit for Chelsea’s trip to Middlesborough this weekend. The winger was taken off with a calf problem in the second half of the World Cup qualifier. However, the Mail understands that the injury isn’t serious enough to keep him out of the game for any period of time. The decision to take him off with a precautionary one, as there was no need to risk him given Belgium were comfortably in the lead. He will be assessed by the Chelsea medical staff, but is expected to travel to the North East with the squad.
The Belgian international has been in excellent form since the season began, scoring seven goals and contributing two assists for his side. He looks a completely different player to the one that was dropped last season for poor form, and that is largely down to the impact that Antonio Conte has had. Chelsea are once again title contenders, but if they are to reclaim their crown, they will need Hazard to maintain his form for the duration of the season. Conte will be relieved that this injury wasn’t as serious as it could have been.
Chelsea are already planning for the January transfer window and they could be set to renew their interest in two players they failed to sign during the summer. According to the Express, Antonio Conte is keen to bring Roma pair Kostas Manolas and Radja Nainggolan to Stamford Bridge, with both suiting his system perfectly. The former would provide a more reliable option in defence, with neither David Luiz nor Gary Cahill pulling up trees so far this season. Meanwhile the latter would provide competition for places in the centre of midfield, as Chelsea would struggle if there was an injury to either Nemanja Matic or Ngolo Kante.
The report states that Conte is planning to spend big to inject further momentum into their title challenge. Manolas would be a seriously good addition as he has performed consistently in Serie A and possesses the quality to excel in the Premier League as well. The Greek international is currently stalling on a new deal in Rome and it could be the perfect time for Chelsea to make their move. Meanwhile it would be more difficult to secure Nainggolan, but he would be another very good addition.
Finally, Frank Lampard could be set for a return to Stamford Bridge if he announces his retirement from playing. He has left New York City at the end of his contract there, but has yet to state what he will do next. It shouldn’t be long before we know what is next for Lampard, but a retirement from playing does look to be the most likely solution. He has had a superb career and has contributed a lot to Chelsea, making him a legend of the club. Although there was disappointment that he moved to Manchester City on a temporary deal, he will always be thought of fondly at Stamford Bridge and is likely to return to the club one day.
Chelsea will offer him either an ambassadorial role or a position on the coaching staff depending on his ambitions, according to the Guardian. The club don’t want to see any of their more successful players working for any other clubs. Similar offers will be made to the likes of Didier Drogba, John Terry and Ashley Cole, which will please the supporters that want to see the club maintain their identity. These are players that understand what it takes to play for Chelsea and it is a positive that the board recognise that and are integrating them all into the future at Stamford Bridge.
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