Eden Hazard may be on the verge of signing a lucrative new contract at Chelsea, but the talented playmaker has recently spoken about how he could well have moved to Ajax during his younger days.
The 23-year-old has been making headlines this week, with the Blues reportedly set to offer him a new contract worth an eye-watering £200,000-per-week that would also see Hazard become the highest-paid player in the club's long history.
Whatever the motives of Chelsea's decision to secure the player's future beyond his current contract's 2017 expiry date - be it an attempt to reward him for his stellar form over recent seasons or indeed a cunning ploy to ward off interest from the likes of La Liga giants Real Madrid - there can surely be no doubting that Hazard has developed into a truly top-class talent since arriving at Stamford Bridge from Lille during the summer of 2012.
It was with the Ligue 1 club that the now fully-established Belgian international really learned his trade but his career path could easily have been so much different, with talkSPORT reporting that reigning Eredivisie champions Ajax tried to sign him during his formative years.
"I still remember that Ajax were concrete," Hazard said.
"I was 12-years-old and I went with my amateur side to a tournament at Standard Liege. I think I played quite well because Ajax, one of the other participants, did some checking up.
"Anyway, ultimately it did not happen and two years later I went to join the youth team at Lille."
Quite how a move to the Netherlands would have shaped Hazard's career we will now never know, although it would perhaps be safe to assume that, given Ajax's proud history of developing youngsters, he would still have progressed into one of European football's most dangerous midfielders.
Positive Chelsea start
Chelsea's Player of the Year for the 2013/14 campaign, Hazard has yet to really hit top gear once more for Jose Mourinho's side during the early stages of the new season.
Despite this, Chelsea can still boast a record of four wins from their opening four Premier League fixtures, with Saturday's thrilling 4-2 victory over fellow high-flyers Swansea City an exercise in character and perseverance after an unfortunate John Terry own goal had put them behind inside 11 minutes.
Summer signings Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have understandably drawn most of the plaudits for such a solid start.
The former has looked desperate to prove a point to those Barcelona supporters that so often used him as a scapegoat during his three-year stint at the Camp Nou, while international colleague Costa has given every indication possible that he will be the man to remedy Chelsea's long-standing striker issue.
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