PLAYMAKER Eden Hazard is close to committing his long-term future to Chelsea, according to manager Jose Mourinho.
The 23-year-old, who has scored 31 goals in 115 games for the Blues, has three years left to run on his current deal at Stamford Bridge.
But Mourinho is keen to tie down his prized asset rather than risk him succumbing to overtures from elsewhere and is set to offer an improved five-year deal.
Hazard is expected to start in tonight’s Champions League Group G opener at home to Schalke 04, who have just one point from their opening three Bundesliga matches.
And Mourinho is confident the Belgium international will continue to be a key part of his team for many years to come.
“He’s a player we want to keep,” said Mourinho. “It’s true Chelsea are trying to have an agreement for a new contract.
“It will be a question of time. It will end with a new contract. He wants to commit to us and we want to commit to him for the future.
“We have big hopes that he will go from a top player to reach higher levels.”
Chelsea have no injury concerns tonight after veteran striker Didier Drogba, who scored in the 2007 meeting between the teams, shrugged off an ankle injury that kept him out of Saturday’s Premier League win over Swansea.
However, Mourinho has not ruled out a change between the posts, with Petr Cech pushing for his first start of the season having lost his place to Thibaut Courtois, who last year won a Champions League runners-up medal with Atletico Madrid.
“Don’t be surprised if Cech plays a Champions League game or a Premier League game, or if Courtois plays a Capital One Cup game,” added Mourinho.
“What I don’t do is say: ‘this competition is for me and this competition is for you’. I must make choices.
“Petr is more than ready to play every game.”