Chelsea have been told they would be “crazy” to sanction the £100 million ($131m) sale of Eden Hazard, with Robert Huth claiming an impending transfer ban means the attacker must be retained.
Chelsea have appealed against that ruling, but no delay to or removal of their sanctions has been agreed.
That means Maurizio Sarri, or whoever is at the Stamford Bridge helm this summer will have to make the most of those already at their disposal once Christian Pulisic completes a move already agreed with Borussia Dortmund.
An inability to make additions could force Chelsea’s hand not only on the arrivals front but also in the sales market.
Belgium international Hazard continues to be heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, with no extension agreed to a contract due to expire in 2020, but the Blues would not be able to bring in any cover if they entered into exit talks.
With that in mind, and taking into account the 28-year-old’s value to the cause in west London, former Chelsea defender Huth sees no way that a talismanic presence can be allowed to leave.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There is no better challenge than at Real Madrid.
“But if you were Chelsea you would be crazy to sell Eden Hazard now with the transfer ban over your head.
“What’s the point in selling him for £100m if you can’t buy anyone? On the pitch, you are losing your main player.”
He has, however, stopped short of committing his long-term future to Chelsea.
That reluctance to reveal his plans means that the transfer speculation is set to rumble on towards the summer.
Those at Stamford Bridge will be hoping that a compromise can be reached that suits all parties, although there is already recognition within the Blues camp that Hazard may have his heart set on a switch to Spain and that he is destined to move on regardless of any efforts they make.