Chelsea are keeping tabs on Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho as they ready themselves for life without Eden Hazard, according to reports.
The Belgium international is out of contract next summer and has long been linked with a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Hazard, 28, revealed to French radio station RMC on Tuesday that he has now decided on his next move – although he did not elaborate on what it might be.
“I know what I am going to do. I have made a decision,” Hazard said.
Reports on Wednesday suggested that Hazard will make a decision to join Real, which will ‘trigger an incredible chain of transfers across Europe’.
The Independent claims that the £100million that Chelsea are asking for this summer will be ‘far more manageable’ to pay than their valuation of £250million last summer.
And the report continues by saying Coutinho is someone that the Blues are monitoring as ‘the Brazilian considers ending his Nou Camp nightmare’.
Chelsea would be able to afford Coutinho, who left Liverpool to join Barcelona in a deal that could rise to as much as £142million.
However, the official noise coming out of Barcelona from the likes of the club president Josep Maria Bartomeu is that Coutinho will be staying past the summer transfer window.
There was speculation over January that Manchester United would be interested in Coutinho, while even a return to Liverpool was mooted – but The Independent doubts he will be back at Anfield.