A report suggests that Chelsea could part company with one of their younger stars, but that will be a bad decision.
The English giants have spent a net £62m this season, despite pocketing £37.1m from the sale of playmaker Juan Mata to Manchester United in January, and will now need to sell assets to balance the books and the squad.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has already spoken the need to sign a ‘real striker’ in January and it appears that Fernando Torres is on his way out of Stamford Bridge (finally). Demba Ba is set to leave as well as he is nothing more than dead wood to Mourinho, who is also unlikely to keep an effective but ageing Samuel Eto’o beyond his one-year contract that ends in the summer.
Romelu Lukaku is scheduled to return to the Blues from his loan spell at Everton in the summer, but the 20-year-old Belgian international fell out with the Portuguese manager earlier this season and is unlikely to play under him again.
All very much understandable and it is clear to everyone that Chelsea need to recruit a world-class centre-forward (or maybe two) to launch a challenge for the Premier League and the Champions League next season, but if the latest report is to be believed, then it begs the question whether they should sell Oscar or Hazard.
To Mourinho, Oscar is an upgrade on Mata and the player he wants to build his team around. The 22-year-old Brazil international moved to Chelsea from Internacional in 2012 and has now firmly cemented his place as one of the first names in the starting lineup. His movements, creativity, vision, intelligence and calibre gave Mourinho enough assurance to sell Mata, who had excelled in a similar role down the middle for the past two years at the Bridge.
Hazard? He is a world-class winger and following the Blues’ capitulation against Paris Saint-Germain in France on Wednesday, there have been suggestions that Chelsea are over-reliant on him. The 23-year-old Belgian moved to the Premier League from Lille in 2012 and has taken to English football like a duck to water. It is well nigh unimaginable that Mourinho will sanction any kind of deal to allow either him or Oscar to leave, although an offer of £300m from PSG might sway his mind.
Even if Mourinho does have to sell some of the big-name players to raise funds to sign a striker, should he even contemplate parting with Oscar or Hazard? Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid, Mario Mandzukic of Bayern Munich and PSG striker Edinson Cavani will all come at a heavy price, but it will mean starting from scratch for the Blues.
And remember, Mourinho has consistently said that this season is about developing his team so that his players can have a real go in all competitions in 2013-14. So where would that leave Chelsea if Oscar or Hazard were to leave?