Harry Redknapp says “someone’s got inside Eden Hazard’s head” and claims every club “breaks the rules”.
The former Tottenham boss claims that clubs must already be talking to Hazard, who last February signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract, and he believes Chelsea will face a fight to keep the player, who was last year’s Footballer of the Year.
“Chelsea have to stay patient and resist any temptation to sell Eden Hazard because he is one of the best 10 players in the world,” Redknapp wrote in his weekly Evening Standard column.
“Someone’s got inside the boy’s head. It is the only explanation for such a complete drop in performances. He seems to have lost his focus and probably wants to move on but Chelsea need to stop that from happening.
“A lot will depend on who comes in as manager at the end of the season. Whoever it is, it will be his top priority to keep Chelsea’s most creative player. He fell out with Jose Mourinho — that much was clear — and he may love Guus Hiddink but you can’t just turn your best form on and off.
“He went off the boil in the first half of the season and now he can’t seem to switch it back on again. That’s the time when the club need to be supportive, not chuck him by the wayside.”
Redknapp, 68, whose last managerial post was at QPR, admitted he had a meeting with the Belgium playmaker when he was in charge of Tottenham between 2008-20012 and admits every club “breaks the rules”.
“Hazard signed a new five-year contract with the Blues last February so they should be in a strong position to reject any offers for him,” added Redknapp.
“But Chelsea will have a battle on their hands because people must already be talking to Hazard. It happens.
“As I’ve said before, I had a meeting as Spurs boss with Hazard in a Paris hotel when he was at Lille. Players I’ve had have been approached, too — of course, you’re not happy but you accept it is part of the game.
“Most big deals happen that way, let’s not kid ourselves. One club doesn’t ring another club any more. And it isn’t just with players — nine times out of 10, when a club sacks a manager, they will already have spoken to the guy they want to replace him with first. That’s football.
“Every club could be hauled up before Fifa or the FA because everyone breaks the rules.
“But Chelsea have to find a way to keep Hazard. They saw the perfect example of what could happen in Paris on Tuesday night.
“If I was at Chelsea, I’d do my best to keep Hazard no matter what. He was great before, he can be great again.”