In focus: Gareth Bale plus cash deal for Hazard could give Chelsea better aerial threat

Real Madrid are lining up a summer offer of Gareth Bale plus £100million in exchange for Chelsea star Eden Hazard, the Daily Express has reported.

What’s the lowdown?

While Chelsea have impressed in the Champions League this season, their domestic form has been found wanting as they have struggled to replicate the success they had in the Premier League in 2016/17.

Conte’s changing of the 3-4-3 system which reaped so much success last term has given way to a 3-4-2-1 formation and handed Eden Hazard a more pivotal role in the Blues’ lineup.

His increased role has resulted in a league-leading 11 goals for the west London club, but recent defeats to Watford and Bournemouth will have frustrated the talismanic midfielder and he is stalling on a deal with the club to extend his contract past 2019.

Gareth Bale, meanwhile, has struggled with a calf injury in a difficult season for the La Liga giants and has managed just six league goals in the league campaign so far.

Should Chelsea accept?

It almost goes without saying that Hazard’s worth at the moment vastly outstrips that of the Welsh winger, which helps explain why Madrid are willing to lump another £100m on top of a player who himself cost over £90m back in 2013.

Given Bale would likely play a very similar role to the one the Belgian star currently occupies for Chelsea, the question is whether it will be worth the Blues taking such a downgrade in exchange for a nine-figure amount.

What Bale lacks in terms of his scoring potential in recent performances he compensates for in aerial presence, with his 2.2 aerial duels won per game besting Hazard’s 0.3 – according to WhoScored. Such a physical presence could be better suited to the rough and tumble climat of the Premier League than the emphasis on finesse in the Spanish top tier.

Add a cool £100m to the mix and such an offer could be just the solution for a Chelsea side struggling to find answers to their current malaise.