The transfer saga concerning the potential move of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid has taken yet another twist, one that Chelsea fans might take some confidence from. Ever since the rumours began a couple of years ago, it has looked as though Hazard has been on the verge of a big money switch to the Spanish capital but until now, it has never materialised.
Blues supporters, who have been becoming increasingly nervous with every update, will be glad to see that Zinedine Zidane’s interest in their star man might not be as strong as many have reported. In many ways, Hazard is single-handedly dragging his side into the Champions League positions and has been in sublime form for a number of weeks now.
The 27-year-old has done little to quieten speculation into his future; he has not yet signed a contract extension offered by Chelsea despite positive noises from both campaigns, and he has also admitted that he would relish the opportunity to play under boyhood idol Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu at some point in the future, describing it as a “dream” prospect back in November.
With Hazard telling the club’s official website in no uncertain terms that anything other than a top-four finish would be unacceptable, some bookmakers that offer Premier League online betting have slashed the midfielder’s odds of joining Madrid in the summer to 6/4. Despite the huge fee the Blues would receive for the Belgium international, it would be very tricky to find a player capable of replacing his ability and, as Tottenham showed after selling Gareth Bale, expensive signings don’t necessarily lead to success.Chelsea’s investment hasn’t exactly been anything to write home about since their title win last term and it would be interesting to see where that money would be spent; although it remains to be seen whether manager Antonio Conte will still be around to select desperately-needed reinforcements.
However, according to reports in the British and Spanish press today, the only eventuality that would see Hazard moving to the Bernabeu would be if Cristiano Ronaldo was to leave, which is highly unlikely. I’m sure Roman Abramovich would be open to a swap deal for the Ballon d’Or winner, but the Portuguese icon isn’t expected to favour a move to Stamford Bridge with his allegiance to Manchester United. Although the 33-year-old has had a torrid season as part of an underachieving Los Blancos side this term, he recently spoke of his “love” for the club and the city of Madrid, as is now expected to remain with Real for the foreseeable future.
With another few months and a World Cup between now and the summer transfer window, there will undoubtedly be plenty of advancements on the proposed Hazard move, but for now, it’s not the worst news for the Blues faithful. And if, of course, Hazard does decide to leave in July or August, they can still enjoy his magic until the end of May.
Header image: “Eden Hazard / Эден Азар” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov