Hazard Is 'the Real Key' for Chelsea if They Are to Retain the Premier League Title

Monday July 31st, 2017

Harry Redknapp thinks Tiemoue Bakayoko will be a big player for Chelsea but Eden Hazard will need to be at his best again as Chelsea strap in to defend their Premier League title. 

The Daily Star reported that the former Tottenham boss believes Antonio Conte has a big job on his hands next season without prolific goalscorer Diego Costa, who looks to be leaving Stamford Bridge.

"Replacing Costa, as they likely have to do, will not be easy," Redknapp said. "Love him or loathe him, he's a real handful."

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Redknapp also highlighted the effect of club legend John Terry leaving: "Terry is a loss too, because whilst he didn't play that many games, his influence around the dressing room is massive - he was a real leader." Terry joined Aston Villa on a free transfer after his contract with the club ended. 

Alvaro Morata was bought for a club-record fee of £70m from Real Madrid and is thought to be the replacement for Costa and Redknapp tips the Spaniard to do justice to his price tag: "For the money they have paid, he must work hard and I'm sure he will get goals."

But 'Arry was all praises of Eden Hazard, who seemed to be back to his best last season after enduring a miserable 2015/16 campaign: "The real key will be Eden Hazard, who I just love. If he performs again, then Chelsea will be looking to go back-to-back title winners."

Chelsea begin the defence of their title at home to Burnley on the 12th of August. 

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