A report on Daily Mirror claims Chelsea have found the player to replace Eden Hazard if he departs for Real Madrid this summer.
Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in the summer of 2012 and Chelsea are reportedly ready to raid Lille again for Hazard’s replacement.
Lille and Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe has emerged as that player after a spectacular breakthrough season in Ligue 1, claims Daily Mirror.
23-year-old Pepe has been a smash hit in Ligue 1 this season, scoring 19 times and assisting a further 11 in just 32 matches.
It is believed Chelsea are now resigned to losing Hazard this summer as the Belgian has just a year left on his contract.
Chelsea are fighting against the transfer ban imposed on the club by FIFA (for breaching the rules around the transfer of minors) to enable the Blues sign a replacement for Hazard.
Hazard has enjoyed another stellar campaign for Chelsea, scoring 19 times and registering 12 assists in all competitions.
Hazard has won two Premier Leagues, the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League since joining Chelsea in 2012.
Meanwhile, former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot believes it will be best Chelsea sold Eden Hazard this summer rather than keep him for another year.
“His future at the club is very simple,” Melchiot said on talkSPORT.
“This kid wants to play the best and wants to play with the best.
“The only doubt now comes to what is Chelsea’s next move with the transfer ban?
“It’s great being the best player on the team but you want to be playing amongst players that can help you succeed and bring you to the next level.
“I’m not saying the others aren’t good but are they good enough to keep him excited?
“That’s why Real Madrid is so interesting for him and it’s why he might have already made his mind up.
“As a fan, all along I want to keep Hazard. But as a business prospect, it wouldn’t be smart to keep hold of him.
“If you can get a lot of money for him and buy any other equivalent player or young star, you will go for that.
“You don’t want to let anyone walk out for free. We are talking about a player who, if you can get £100m for him, it would be great.”