Eden Hazard's departure will be the biggest Premier League loss since Cristiano Ronaldo, John Cross has told the Nations League Supplement podcast, although his fellow journalist Matt Law does not think Real Madrid will pay up for Christian Eriksen.
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- Real agree £88m Hazard deal with Chelsea
With Chelsea also facing the prospect of a transfer ban, his imminent departure will hit the club hard, but the Daily Mirror's chief football writer Cross believes it will also have a wider effect on the Premier League.
He told the Nations League Supplement podcast: "One thing we forget about Eden Hazard, because we know it has been coming for so long, is that it detracts from the devastating blow that it will be, not just for Chelsea, but for the Premier League.
"I think it is the biggest single loss of a player since Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United for Real Madrid - I think he is that talented.
"Hazard is the single best player in the Premier League. He's so influential for Chelsea. When he gets the ball in even the most mundane games, he can light up the whole occasion and he looks like he glides across the pitch. He's a wonderful, wonderful player and it will be a massive blow for Chelsea.
"It will bring the club down and it will have a deflating, destabilising effect in many ways. Clearly, Hazard has had his sights set on Real Madrid and it is a devastating blow for the Premier League and for the next two or three years, we'll miss him."
Fellow journalist Matt Law says Chelsea are scared about the upcoming ban because it will leave them short up front, especially after Hazard's move.
The Daily Telegraph's football news correspondent said: "The biggest problem is the strikeforce. They've got enough players elsewhere. Kurt Zouma can come back from his loan to boost the numbers in the defence. Reece James has had a wonderful season on loan at Wigan - he might not start next season, but he can boost the full-back numbers. They've got midfielders coming out of their ears with Mason Mount coming back and Ruben Loftus-Cheek coming back from injury.
"But they've got no strikers. They don't want to sign Gonzalo Higuain and the prospect of starting next season without Eden Hazard, who scored 20 goals in a season the first time last term, and going into a season in the Champions League with Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham up front, with all due respect to them, is a pretty frightening proposition.
"That is their biggest fear. If Higuain had done the business or they had a striker who they could trust, I don't think they would be as scared about it with the options they have. But the striker thing is huge for them because they don't have one."
Will Real pay out for Eriksen?
Another Premier League star being linked with Real Madrid is Christian Eriksen, with the Dane recently admitting that he is considering leaving Tottenham this summer.
But Law is not convinced that Real Madrid want to pay the same sort of money for the Spurs playmaker as they are set to do for Hazard.
He explained: "[Tottenham will let him go] for the right price, although it might not be everyone else's right price.
"I know for a fact that two English clubs enquired about him about three months ago, I can't say which ones, but they were quoted £130m at the time. I suspect there is a heavy premium on that for English clubs and it would be less money if Real Madrid do come along.
"But Daniel Levy certainly won't accept less than £80m and having just seen Chelsea just get a deal worth up to £130m for Eden Hazard with one year on his contract, that's only going to embolden him and he will want a deal worth up to £100m and at least £80m.
"I still think this is a very difficult deal for a club to do and I'm not convinced Real Madrid or Zinedine Zidane are that taken with Eriksen to pay that kind of money. It's been clear all season that Eriksen wants out, it's a badly kept secret, but the confirmation of it was significant in that as soon as he was away from Tottenham, he decided to try and put them into a corner on this.
"I think it's an important moment for Tottenham in terms of their summer because whether they can achieve a price that Daniel Levy wants or near to it will shape a lot of what they can do this summer. They do have a basic budget but if they want to really compete at the top end of this transfer market against their rivals, it's going to be dependent on what kind of money they can bring in."
Cross added: "Hazard and Eriksen are game-changing deals. They have one year left on their deals and the transfer market, very often, changes on the back of significant deals that send a message. It used to be that those guys were worth half that because they only had a year left and clubs would rather wait and get them on a free.
"But now, if you need or want a player, you have to pay and Daniel Levy is going to take one look at Hazard and say 'I want that same premium'. I think Real would be doing a great deal for Eriksen to be some kind of successor to Luka Modric, who has been a fabulous player for Real Madrid.
"That's the sort of player they need but is he the same sort of priority? Probably not, that's Hazard, but I do think it's significant."
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