Last year’s transfer window saw Chelsea sign Eden Hazard for a fee of £32million after beating off the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City to secure the services of the 21-year-old Belgian international.
After winning the UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year award for two years in a row, Hazard was tipped for big things.
There have been several instances of players from foreign leagues taking time to adapt to the pace and physicality of the Premier League, however Hazard started off his time in the Premier League in style, winning three consecutive man of the match awards in his first three Premier League games and quickly established himself as a firm fan favourite at Stamford Bridge.
His vision, pace and dribbling ability was a nightmare for defenders, and he formed an excellent partnership with Juan Mata and Oscar, making Chelsea one of the most formidable attacking units in Europe. Although he suffered from a mid-season dip in form, Hazard ended the season with impressive statistics of 13 goals and 20 assists in all competitions and was nominated for the PFA Player of the year award which was eventually won by Gareth Bale.
With Jose Mourinho in charge of Chelsea this season, Hazard is one of the first names in a highly competitive Chelsea team and has featured in all of Chelsea’s games so far this term, including an impressive performance against Bayern Munich in the Super Cup where Hazard set up one goal and scored another.
Hazard’s transfer fee of £32million is a bargain when compared to some absurd transfers conducted over the course of this transfer window. Fernandinho (Shakhtar to Man City) for £40million, Willian (Anzhi to Chelsea) for £30million, Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad to Real Madrid) for £30million, Marquinhos (Roma to PSG) for £35million and Gareth Bale (Spurs to Real Madrid) for £85million are just a few of the bemusing deals to have been completed.
Willian and Fernandinho have spent majority of their career at Shakhtar Donestsk in the Ukraine while the former has also spent six months in Russia playing for Anzhi Makhachkala. No doubt they have impressed while playing football for their clubs, but they have not played in one of Europe's elite leagues, and neither of them have managed to break into the Brazil team.
Illarramendi performed well for Real Sociedad last season, but the fact remains that he hadn't scored a goal in his three seasons at the club and many people seem to agree that paying such a staggering amount for an uncapped player is ridiculous.
Marquinhos was excellent for Roma last season however no one can justify such a price tag for a relatively inexperienced player after just one good season of football.
Gareth Bale was in red-hot form last campaign and was the best player in the Premier League. He has proved that he is one of the world’s best players and is ready to play for a top club. However, a price tag of £85 million seems almost absurd if you compare it to Hazard’s £32million transfer fee.
Yes, Bale has proved that he is a cut above everyone else in the English football, however he is by no means two and a half times the value of Hazard. Bale is still two years older than Hazard and wasn’t playing the level Hazard is at his age.
Who knows? In the next two years, we might just witness Eden Hazard become the best player in the world... maybe he'll command a fee of £100million.
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