Aston Villa have identified Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard as a potential transfer target for 2023.
Last month, the Premier League outfit announced that they had appointed Villarreal boss Unai Emery as the successor to Steven Gerrard, who was sacked after a 3-0 defeat to Fulham on October 20.
The Spaniard returns to English football with Villa sitting in 16th position in the standings, just one point above the relegation zone.
Emery begins his Villa reign with matches against Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion, while Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur await the West Midlands outfit after the World Cup.
With Villa facing the possibility of playing catch-up in the second half of the campaign, the expectation is that Emery will be given the freedom to make changes to his squad in January.
According to Defensa Central, Villa may make an ambitious attempt to secure the services of Hazard.
The playmaker is no stranger to the Premier League having contributed 85 goals and 61 assists from his 245 top-flight appearances for Chelsea across seven seasons.
However, the 31-year-old has been a shadow of that player during his stint with Real Madrid, chipping in with just four strikes and eight assists in 51 La Liga outings.
Although injuries have played their part in Hazard being unable to produce his best form, he is now only regarded as a fringe member of Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.
Hazard has been provided with just two starts and four substitute appearances in Spain’s top flight and the Champions League this campaign, playing for a total of 230 minutes.
At a time when just 20 months remain on his contract, Los Blancos are open to parting ways with a player who cost them a potential fee of €146.1m (£125.71m) in 2019.
Hazard has previously insisted that he was settled in Spain and wanted to remain at the Bernabeu for as long as possible, but the situation is now believed to have changed.
While the report suggests that Villa are his most likely destination as it stands, Hazard is currently due to represent Belgium at the World Cup later this month, an opportunity to put himself in the shop window.
However, Hazard’s asking price is currently unclear, with the Real hierarchy possibly having to entertain an initial loan deal to facilitate an exit at the midway point of the campaign.