Chelsea opted against signing Belgian winger Eden Hazard four years ago, according to scout Guy Hillion.
The 21-year-old is currently plying his trade with French champions Lille, and has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge this summer.
A fee in the region of £33 million is understood to be the realise clause for Hazard, who has a number of clubs tracking his progress. However, the Blues could have saved making such an extravagant purchase had they taken a punt on the player back in 2008.
"I noticed him when he was 17," Hillion told Sudpresse. "I gave his name to Chelsea. If it had been up to me then he would be playing in a blue jersey right now."
Hillion's suggestion was overlooked, and Hazard has since become one of the most sought after talents in European football, and is likely to demand a substantial transfer fee having declared his intention to leave Lille at the end of the season.
With the futures of Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda uncertain, Hazard would be a welcome addition to a club who are in need of a radical overhaul having failed to mount a serious title challenge this season.
Andre Villas-Boas' attempts to move on Chelsea's old guard failed miserably, with the 34-year-old sacked eight months into his Stamford Bridge tenure.
It is yet to be seen whether the new manager, touted to be France boss Laurent Blanc, will try and stage a similar overhaul of the playing staff.
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