Antonio Conte sends message to Chelsea board over contracts for key duo

Antonio Conte has put the Chelsea board under pressure to tie up two key members of his squad to new contracts before this summer’s World Cup.

Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard have both been linked with mega-money transfers to Real Madrid in recent seasons and are yet to pen fresh terms at Stamford Bridge.

Courtois’ current Blues deal expires in 2019 while his Belgium international team-mate Hazard would be free to leave the Londoners a year later if no fresh terms are signed.

Hazard idolises Los Galacticos head coach Zinedine Zidane, with Courtois understood to be keen to keep his options open having enjoyed his time in the Spanish capital with Atletico.

Conte, who clashed with the Chelsea hierarchy in the summer over recruitment and waved goodbye to transfer guru Michael Emenalo recently, sees the duo as integral to his plans. He said: “I think the club knows very well the ­importance of these two players and I think they are very happy to play for this club.

“I hope that Thibaut will sign his contract. And Eden to sign as well before the World Cup? For sure, I will be very happy when they can have this deal. “They are very young ­players and it will be great to keep them with us.”

Emenalo has since joined Ligue 1 side Monaco following his departure from the Bridge and the Blues are thought to be considering appointing his predecessor, Luis Campos, as his replacement.

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