Eden Hazard: Please, make your move
It doesn’t threaten to be one of the long-running transfer sagas of the summer, but it does.
The conundrum of Eden Hazard’s next move shouldn’t be that complicated. All of the hints have been dropped to suggest that he will be turning out for the Premier League champions of last season and this, Manchester’s United and City. Hazard said at an awards gala that he would be “going to Manchester” but has since become open to the idea of joining Chelsea.
All of this came after months of suggestions that the Belgian could turn out for Barcelona, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Arsenal and even Tottenham. Zinedine Zidane recommended the 21 year-old to his former club, Real Madrid, stating that he would take him to the club “with his eyes closed”.
If Zidane had kept his eyes open, he would have seen the Lille star advertise himself to every European giant possible in January, shortly before the end of the transfer window through a YouTube video. Uploaded by Belgium’s branch of Nike, the winger was shown to be looking at the names of teams on cards (which face away from the camera for obvious reason) and giving his opinion on each. The video concludes with Hazard saying “For the moment I play at Lille” and asking what he should do next.
What he should have done is show much more respect to his current employers rather than showing a bit of leg to potential future employers. Then again, how foolish to expect a modern-day footballer to show such class and integrity. Evidently, the most important thing to Eden Hazard is Eden Hazard.
That said, he did stick with Lille despite interest in him starting after he starred in the U17 European Championship of 2007. Whilst other squad members like Yohan Cabaye, Gervinho and Moussa Sow left, Hazard stayed and signed a new contract which has ensured that Lille will get a premium price for their superstar. For that, he deserves some credit.
The longer this goes on, though, the more boring it gets. Hazard remains linked to both Manchester clubs and he would, undoubtedly, improve both. The real impact, though, would come if he were to show up at Old Trafford. Manchester United are in need of quality in the midfield; not particularly in the wide areas, per se, but Ashley Young has failed to live up to the promise that he showed in the early months of his career after moving from Aston Villa last summer.
If Hazard were to be played through the middle, it could help to reinvigorate Sir Alex Ferguson’s side and give them a new dimension; the nineteen goals he has scored this season far surpass the eight of Manchester United’s top-scoring midfielder, Nani and he has more assists than Antonio Valencia, United’s chief creator (16-13). Indeed, when Ferguson sent a scout to the north of France to watch Hazard play against Paris Saint-Germain, he came back having saw him convert a penalty before providing the assist for the winning goal with a delicious rabona cross.
Across the city at the Etihad, he would merely expand the pool of talent and give an extra option to Roberto Mancini. David Silva was clearly running on empty at times in the middle of the season yet City still relied on him to produce. Other members of the squad struggled to share the burden – Samir Nasri has done an adequate job, but hasn’t been outstanding and Adam Johnson has found his role to be bit-part as Mancini does not trust him within the system he uses. There may well be room for Hazard in the City midfield as it is expected that Johnson, like Hazard, will be moving on to pastures new over the course of the summer.
Hazard is an excellent player and the Premier League could only benefit from playing host to someone of such talent; that cannot be argued. All of the talk surrounding him, on the other hand, has become extremely mundane. So, we beseech you, Eden: shut your mouth and make your move.