The Evening Standard report that Chelsea are prepared to meet Antoine Griezmann’s £85 million release clause included in his Atletico Madrid contract as the Frenchman considers a move to the Premier League either next summer or the following year. The Blues have been tracking Griezmann for a number of years and are desperate to add him to their ranks, but it’s believed that the deal will hinge on whether or not the club qualify for the Champions League this season.
Qualification for Europe’s elite competition is said to be necessary for the forward to even consider a move to Stamford Bridge. Griezmann is one of Europe’s best forwards and with bags of pace and trickery he would certainly bring something new to the Chelsea frontline, with Antonio Conte also said to be an admirer of the player who has been followed by scouts at the club since before he moved to Atletico.
With Diego Simeone also set to leave the club, a deal seems imminent for Griezmann to depart as well within the next two years, so Champions League qualification is a must for more than just the normal reasons.
The Blues could also take advantage of their option to bring another tricky winger to the club, but if they do, it will have to be this summer. ESPN claim that the club has a £12 million buy back clause for Thorgan Hazard, younger brother of Eden, who was sent out on loan to Borussia Monchengladbach before signing permanently for the club last summer.
The younger Hazard is now excelling and scored twice for his club and picked up the man of the match award in victory over Werder Bremen at the weekend, and the Blues could opt to activate their buy back clause.
The Belgian has insisted that he is completely focused on the Bundesliga outfit, where he has a contract until 2020, but he may be unable to turn down a return to London where he would once again team up with his brother on the flanks of the Chelsea attack. However, he is unlikely to be first choice unless he continues to improve this season, so there may be a decision to be made by both Chelsea and the player in the summer before the buy back clause expires.
Another man with an uncertain future is midfielder Cesc Fabregas, though the Telegraph report that he will be given an opportunity to earn a place in the starting line-up to face Arsenal at the weekend by playing against Leicester City in the EFL Cup tonight.
Fabregas has been linked with a move away, with Real Madrid and AC Milan possible destinations, but Antonio Conte is set to ring the changes after a disappointing defeat to Liverpool on Friday night, which could open the door to the Spaniard reestablishing himself as a fixture in the Blues line-up alongside N’Golo Kante in midfield with Nemanja Matic struggling to return to his form of the 2014/15 season.
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