Chelsea boss Antonio Conte admits he’s powerless to prevent the sale of Eden Hazard should Barcelona come calling for the Belgian star.
Hazard has reportedly been identified as a possible replacement for Neymar at Camp Nou, while Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked during the close-season.
Conte has already hinted at his displeasure over Nemanja Matic’s departure to Manchester United and is adamant the champions still require strengthening.
While insisting Hazard is happy at Stamford Bridge, the Italian conceded any offer for the 26-year-old will rest with the club’s hierarchy.
“I am the coach and I can give my opinion. But the final decision is always the club’s,” Conte said.
“I think these are rumours and Eden is very happy to stay with us, to play with Chelsea and to start the new season.
“We are trying to buy players, not to sell them. Otherwise the number is always less and we are in trouble.”
Antonio Conte – ‘We want to play a really good game with high intensity and prepare for the start of the season.’ pic.twitter.com/J37acUO03G
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 4, 2017
Hazard will join Tiemoue Bakayoko on the sidelines for the Community Shield clash with Arsenal as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury.
Sunday’s match comes just six days before the Blues open their Premier League title defence against Burnley in what Conte believes will be a highly-competitive season.
“In England you win the title and the next season the teams prepare to fight you with all their strength,” he said.
“They go to the transfer market, they try to improve and it is very difficult to repeat the success of the season before.”
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