Hazard backed for Golden Shoe award

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Chelsea loanee Thorgan Hazard has been tipped to win Belgium's 2013 Golden Shoe award by Zulte Waregem teammate - and reported Arsenal target - Junior Malanda.

Speaking to Belgian television channel RTBF, the Wolfsburg midfielder - who is also enjoying a season-long loan spell at Regenboogstadion - backed the 20-year-old to claim the country's most prestigious individual prize, with the winner to be announced in January.

Hazard joined Chelsea in 2012, but is yet to make a senior appearance for the Blues, and was loaned out by Jose Mourinho after he returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer.

The former Lens starlet has been in scintillating form in the early part of 2013/14, with nine goals and nine assists in just 14 Jupiler Pro League matches this season.

"For me it has to be Hazard [who wins the Golden Shoe], and not just because he is a friend," said Malanda. "He has really come on this season."

The younger brother of established Chelsea star Eden Hazard, will be hoping to continue his impressive performances, and put himself in contention for first-team inclusion in west London in the future.

Malanda has also impressed back in his homeland, and has received admiring glances from a number of Premier League clubs, with Arsenal and Chelsea both understood to have scouted the defensive midfielder in action for Belgium U21s last month.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger might point to his history of developing young talent, and offering a clear pathway to the first-team, to convince the 19-year-old to move to the Emirates Stadium.

However, Chelsea's increasing contingent of Belgian players, in addition to Malanda's close relationship with Hazard junior, will probably give Mourinho the upper hand in the chase for his signature.

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