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'He can be as good as Hazard' - Chelsea star's ex-boss on Liverpool-linked forward

Rudi Garcia believes Adem Ljajic can reach Eden Hazard’s level.

Roma boss Rudi Garcia has said he can see Adem Ljajic becoming as good as Chelsea sensation Eden Hazard - with improvement.

The statement comes as a bit of a surprise, considering the Serbian has become a fringe figure of late in the Frenchman’s Giallorossi squad.

Ljajic’s failure to close down his man in the build-up to Napoli’s winning goal against Roma in early March saw the forward come in for a raft of criticism.

And the 22-year-old has seen just 26 minutes of action since, leading to reports that Roma are prepared to sell him to Liverpool this summer after a single season at the Stadio Olimpico.

The ex-Fiorentina man’s agent rubbished such claims on Friday, and now Garcia has spoken of his role in further developing the struggling star’s talents.

Garcia admitted to being frustrated with the youngster after the Napoli incident, but also showed immense faith in likening him to Hazard.

He scored five goals and five assists, so I won’t forget,” Garcia told Corriere della Sera.

I did get angry with him at Napoli after Jose Callejon’s goal, because it was clear how he was supposed to defend.

“If I can make him a more powerful and faster player, in my view he can become as good as Eden Hazard.

Garcia is well acquainted with the Chelsea starlet. He oversaw Hazard’s rise to stardom from the bench at Lille before the Belgian moved to Stamford Bridge for £32million in 2012.

With former charge Hazard touted as a future Ballon d’Or winner, Garcia’s evaluation of Ljajic is high praise indeed.

It also suggests that the Frenchman will indeed want to keep hold of the Serbian, seeing the need to work with him to unlock his potential.

It is a quick turnaround for Ljajic, who by the Italian media’s assessment was certain to be shown the exit door this summer.

So perhaps he will be sticking around the Italian capital after all, as Garcia certainly knows a future star when he sees one.

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