Last night Lille playmaker, Eden Hazard, put an end to the growing speculation surrounding his future by declaring on Twitter that he will be joining Chelsea. After weeks of public speculation in which Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea were the forerunners for the 21 year old Belgian’s signature, Hazard declared: “I’m signing for the Champion’s League winner.”
Though some of the City faithful may be disappointed, it may be a blessing in disguise. After a fine season playing for Lille in the French Ligue 1 it was inevitable that Europe’s biggest clubs would be interested in the services of potentially lethal Hazard. However, the manner in which Hazard has publicly fanned the flames of the speculation has not endeared himself to many. Prior to Chelsea’s Champions League victory he strongly indicated that it would be the blue of City that he would be wearing next season. I may be mistaken but it seem that all the praise of his ability and the stature of the clubs interested in him has gone to his head.
Few players are afforded the opportunity to be linked with, let alone play for, clubs like City, United and Chelsea. The youngster who is relatively unproven, domestically and internationally, seems to be somewhat of a prima donna. With undoubted potential Hazard has performed well in the French league but it is not the pinnacle of European football. Moreover, on the international stage, Hazard has had a high profile run-in with the former Belgium coach, Georges Leekens, which did little to enhance his reputation.
His arrogance is something that City and Roberto Mancini could do without. After all, City have plenty of their own problems in the shape of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli. Whilst they are both undoubtedly fantastic players their attitude is not exactly first class. Then there are the hangers on: players like Emmanuel Adebayor and Wayne Bridge who claim they want to play football but are unwilling to take a wage cut to do so. City should only recruit those who want to play for the club for the right reasons. It seems that if City had captured Hazard it could amount to be more of a problem than a benefit. Only time will tell but it seems Hazard was more interested in where the money was and who he thought owned the most prestigious trophy. I can’t imagine Mancini will lose any sleep over this.
Ultimately, Hazard opted to join Chelsea, the FA Cup and Champions League winners. On the other hand, he has joined a team that finished extremely poorly in the Premier League. They finished 6th, 25 points behind the Champions, Manchester City, and behind 5th place Newcastle. Going into the final day of the season, Chelsea could finish no higher than 6th, regardless of what other teams did. Chelsea is an unsettled club owned by a Russian mercenary on a personal crusade who changes his manager more often than most. Chelsea is a club run on player power with the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard ruling the roost, seemingly able to influence the owner to dispose of managers who they dislike. Maybe, just maybe, the culture of player power at Chelsea is the perfect match for the seemingly arrogant Eden Hazard.
Words by Rob Toole