Chelsea appear set for a summer of transition, with manager Antonio Conte heading for the Stamford Bridge exit door and failure to secure Champions League football all-but-guaranteeing a major squad reshuffle.
Potential suitors plying their trade in Europe’s premier club competition are now eyeing key stars such as Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kanté up and, should they agitate for a move, there may be little the Blues can do to stop them.
Reinforcements are, therefore, needed quickly and reports from across the Channel suggest that a member of France’s Russia-bound World Cup squad may well be winging his way to West London in the not too distant future.
Florian Thauvin was seen as something of a flop during his time with Newcastle United but he has since blossomed with Olympique de Marseille, and it’s believed Chelsea are ready to make their move.
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Thauvin’s stunning return of 22 goals and 11 assists in 35 Ligue 1 appearances last season may have been enough to earn him a place in Didier Deschamps’ French squad ahead of the likes of Anthony Martial Alexandre Lacazette and Dimitri Payet, but it has also convinced Chelsea that he’s the man to fill Eden Hazard’s boots.
While there can be no doubt that the Premier League offers a far tougher challenge for attacking talent than Ligue 1, it’s notable from the graphic above just how much more productive Thauvin was than Hazard last season.
With more goals, more assists, better per minute averages and more match-defining contributions, Thauvin proved himself to be the type of high-impact player Chelsea need as they begin to rebuild.
Eden Hazard is, without doubt, a unique talent and one that almost any club in world football would miss, but the time for him to move on may have come. A sizeable profit could be made from a Thauvin/Hazard manoeuvre and reinvested in the rest of Chelsea’s squad, making it a deal to appeal on many levels.
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