Chelsea fans often use Eden Hazard to taunt their rivals. It’s understandable as the Belgian international is one of the world’s best players. He would be welcomed with open arms at every elite European club. One, in particular, is already weighing up an offer.
If Hazard does leave Stamford Bridge this summer, Chelsea’s underwhelming season is to blame. The Blues have little chance of retaining their crown, having fallen 18 points off the pace in the Premier League, with only 13 games remaining. They also suffered EFL Cup elimination to Arsenal and face a daunting task against La Liga leaders Barcelona in the Champions League last 16.
Chelsea has been bedeviled by allegations and counter allegations, internal wranglings affecting the club since claiming the league title. This campaign has witnessed technical director Michael Emenalo step down, as well as Antonio Conte’s constant complaining about transfer targets. More importantly, though, is the Hazard situation. The Blues will be left devastated if their prized asset jumps ship.
Hazard, who joined Chelsea six years ago, has never hidden his ambition to work under Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. The two share a mutual respect, with the Belgian admitting that Los Blancos manager was his inspiration and role model while growing up. The Frenchman, in turn, expressed admiration for Chelsea’s number 10, praising the way he plays the game.
With Zidane’s side failing to perform this season, however, transfer negotiations may be on the back burner. It’s allowing Manchester City to steal a march. Recent reports suggest the Premier League leaders are looking to test Chelsea’s resolve by submitting a mammoth £150m offer for Hazard in the summer.
Chelsea dictated football transfers not too long ago, but times have changed. The Blues are now resigned to pursuing value-for-money signings. Players who are deemed surplus to requirements at rival clubs. Ross Barkley and Oliver Giroud fall into that category. Chelsea’s transfer policy has reformed from a trophy-orientated model to a more businesslike approach
Hazard, meanwhile, has stalled on penning a new deal at Stamford Bridge. The London club can’t offer him the wages his talent deserves in today’s market. Losing their key performer would confirm the Chelsea fans’ worst fears: trying to acquire, or hold on to, the world’s top talent is no longer viable.
Man City are on another level at the moment. Their upward trajectory won’t be lost on the fiercely ambitious Hazard. He is fully aware of the gap between Chelsea and the runaway Premier League leaders, meaning he could be tempted to join Pep Guardiola’s revolution.
As well as helping to negate the effect of losing Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, Hazard would improve City’s team. He also knows that Guardiola improves players. Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling are all obvious examples this season.
Chelsea currently look the third best team in the Premier League. For a player such as Hazard, it isn’t good enough. He’s a winner. To the despair of the Blues supporters, Manchester City may take advantage in the summer.
First Published by It’s round & It’s White.