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Chelsea star Eden Hazard has already been tapped-up about a potential transfer away from Stamford Bridge, according to Harry Redknapp. The former Tottenham manager thinks the Belgian's head has been turned by an offer from elsewhere, but he insisted Chelsea must resist the temptation to sell their prized asset.
Hazard, 25, has struggled with his form and fitness this season, during which he has been persistently linked with moves to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
"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 the Evening Standard. "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."
Redknapp alleged Hazard has already been tapped-up – but said it is a common occurrence within the game. "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," he said of the Chelsea star.
"But Chelsea will have a battle on their hands because people must already be talking to Hazard. It happens."
Indeed, Redknapp recalled the time he tried to sign the player before he made the switch to Chelsea.
"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," he said.
"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."