In a move that bore similarities to LeBron James and ‘The Decision’, Eden Hazard has finally put an end to the saga, announcing on Twitter that he was to join the Champions League winners – which one would assume means Chelsea. It rules out City at least.
The day began with rumours emanating from Twitter that Hazard was indeed set to join Chelsea, and not either Manchester club as had been previously prophesied, and I include myself in that number.
I assumed he was going to City, purely because of the bounty on his head. But he wouldn’t have been the main man there. Manchester United would have seen him in direct competition with Wayne Rooney. But whether Hazard considered Chelsea before they had won the Champions League is anyone’s guess.
Throughout the day, Hazard was training in Liege with his Belgian national team none the wiser of the furore he’d caused on the social networking site. Who am I kidding? He knew what he was doing. There’s no better way of letting your stock rise than on Twitter (and fall if you’re Joey Barton) and let the masses speculate on where your next move may be.
By the same token, Hazard is in the unenviable position of putting himself on a such a high perch that he will have to hit the ground running at Chelsea, and without knowing who will manage him next season. Yet his actions captivated many. Egotistical sure, but I believe his talent will shine through that cocky veneer. I’d much rather see interesting tweets than those proclaiming Drake as the next messiah.
After leaving his 250,000 followers in suspense and equal disgruntlement for roughly 10 hours or so, Hazard broke the news in two tweets (below), practicing his English. He’s level with John Terry on grammar at least.
It’s a pretty bold move to make, given the riches Chelsea have in midfield but whichever club he went to, it wouldn’t be easy. He has to compete with the likes of Juan Mata and lesser so newcomer Marko Marin and at the London’s club. It looks like the plan which Andres Villas-Boas (or the club’s hierarchy) started last season, in clearing out the deadwood for some of Europe’s brighter talent. Once the Portuguese coach was given the chop, Chelsea’s elder statesmen suddenly had verve and went to the Champions League final, securing the trophy Abramovich has craved for nearly a decade. Now he wants it for keeps next season – this is a statement of intent.
It’ll be interesting to see how the new coach (I’m assuming Roberto Di Matteo leaves) manages to incorporate all of them. Hazard has made it clear he would like to be central, as does Juan Mata. Kevin De Bruyne is likely to be loaned, but he’s also of a similar disposition. You can’t have that many players cutting from the left surely or you just get a disjointed mess. If he can get them both dovetailing, Hazard and Mata switching positions make Chelsea a fearful prospect next season, with more of that Champions League war chest set to be spent on a Drogba replacement.
Perhaps the Belgian contingent played a part in his decision, but with all three (Courtois, Lukaku and De Bruyne) set to be loaned out, it seems unlikely. He won’t become cast aside, told use another league as a proving ground, that’s for sure. More likely the reason is Hazard’s love of London and the wage he would be receiving. Chelsea can offer him the weekly wage he wanted – reportedly around £100,000, which is an astonishing outlay for a 21-year old who hasn’t played at the very top. He wasn’t exactly stellar in the Champions League for Lille last season either.
You don’t need me to tell you how good Hazard is – he’s probably one of a few footballers in the world today who have had the eyes of a hundred scouts (and seemingly everyone else’s eyes) upon him. Or you’ve followed the rest of the world football community and just echoed what they’ve said. You know how good he is and what he can do.
He’s set to become the most expensive Belgian player of all time – quite rightly. The stats speak for themselves – 20 goals and 16 assists and very much instrumental at Lille in the last few years. He got a tremendous send-off from the Lille fans and Ligue 1 in general. They are losing their best.
In summary, I’m glad this is over. The guessing game in the end helped no one and continued to undermine how great a player Eden Hazard is, and yes, some of that was his fault. But he’s going to be a tremendous asset for Chelsea. I’d bet my minute reputation on it. Has he joined the best club to progress? That’s debatable.
Now Eden, please focus on the England game.
Tagged Belgian, Champions League, Chelsea, Didier Drogba, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne, Ligue 1, Lille, London, Manchester City, Manchester United, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Wayne Rooney