Chelsea remain committed to new Eden Hazard deal as N'Golo Kante signs - sources
LONDON -- Chelsea's willingness to make Eden Hazard the highest-paid player in their history has not been undermined by the new deal given to midfielder N'Golo Kante, sources have told ESPN FC.
On Friday, Chelsea announced that Kante had signed a contract keeping him at Stamford Bridge until June 2023.
The deal, which represents a two-year extension to the 27-year-old's previous contract, reportedly takes his wages to around £290,000-a-week, making him the highest-paid player in Chelsea history.
But that commitment will not prevent the club from offering Belgium international Hazard -- who enters the final year of his contract in June -- an even more lucrative package if he indicates a desire to spurn Real Madrid's interest.
Asked for an update on Hazard's contract situation at a news conference on Friday, coach Maurizio Sarri said: "I don't know the evolution of the new contract, but I think we can do it."
Chelsea are desperate to keep Hazard, who said earlier this month that he would wait until the end of the season before making a decision on his future.
Speaking in September, he said joining Madrid remained his "dream" but he was still open to talks about a new Chelsea contract.
Chelsea hope their successful negotiations with Kante -- who had attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain -- will be seen by Hazard as another sign that they are committed to building a team to compete for the Premier League and Champions League.
Kante joins Pedro Rodriguez and Marcos Alonso in signing contract extensions at Chelsea but decisions remain to be made about David Luiz, Cesc Fabregas, Olivier Giroud and club captain Gary Cahill, all of whom are set to be free agents at the end of the season.
"I'm happy to extend my time with Chelsea, it has been two beautiful years and I wish for more to come," Kante told Chelsea's website.
"Since I came I completely improved as a player, challenged myself and got some awards I never thought about. I like the city, I like the club and I am happy to be here for more time."
Kante joined Chelsea from Leicester for around £30 million in 2016, and Sarri said: "N'Golo, for us, is not just an important player. He's a determining player. I'm really happy with the new contract."