Eden Hazard has turned down the opportunity to make an official comment about the possibility of linking up with his Belgian team-mate Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge next season.
In May Lukaku confessed that he was keen to leave Everton this summer in order to help progress his career. That has inevitably led to the Belgian goalscorer being linked with a move to whole host of clubs, with Chelsea high up on the list. Lukaku was on the books of the West London club before José Mourinho sanctioned his sale to Everton for £28 million, a club record for the Toffees.
The 23-year-old only made 15 appearances for Chelsea under the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’, spending most of his career on loan at West Bromwich Albion and then Everton. He has so far played 127 games for the Merseyside club, scoring 61 goals. He is contracted to Goodison Park until 2019, meaning that Everton will probably demand a large fee for his services should he choose to leave the club this summer.
Incoming boss Ronald Koeman is keen to keep hold of his best players and will be seeking talks with Lukaku after the European Championship in France. The Dutchman swapped Southampton for Everton earlier in the month. Chelsea will also be starting the season under new management, with current Italy boss Antonio Conte taking charge at Stamford Bridge after Euro 2016 has run its course.
Hazard was asked by Sky Sports whether he thought he could be lining up alongside his Belgian team-mate at the Bridge next season, but he said, “I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about this. But Romelu is a big striker, he’s a good guy and a good friend of mine. It’s always good to play with the best in the world”.
Lukaku had come under fire from members of the Belgian press for his performance in Belgium’s opening game of the tournament, a 2-0 loss against Conte’s Italy side. He bounced back in the game against the Republic of Ireland, however, scoring two of his side’s three goals against Martin O’Neil’s side in Bordeaux.
Hazard, who provided the assist for the striker’s second goal, believes that Lukaku won’t let the criticism affect him. He said, “For a striker it’s great confidence to score goals. Lukaku showed how good he is. When a striker doesn’t score, he tends to get criticism, but he can take it. He is mentally strong and I am sure he will be [the] difference for us in each game, I hope”.