Chelsea passed up the opportunity to sign Eden Hazard for the bargain price of £100,000 - five years before paying £32 million to secure the Belgium international's services.
This is according to the Express, who cite Sunday Times journalist Duncan Castles as claiming that Chelsea scouts Gwyn Williams and Paul Senior urged the club to exploit a FIFA loophole and sign the talented Hazard for next to nothing.
Because the world-class winger had not agreed a professional contract at that point, Chelsea would have needed to pay Lille a maximum of £100,000 to release him from the French club.
Frank Arnesen ignored advice
However, Chelsea's former director of football Frank Arnesen opted to ignore the two scouts' advice and the west London outfit were subsequently forced to pay a huge transfer fee to sign the winger in 2012.
Hazard chose to join Chelsea, despite considerable interest from a host of top European clubs, shortly after the Blues won the Champions League for the first time in their history.
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It's fair to say that Hazard has already repaid the huge transfer fee Chelsea paid for him two-and-a-half years ago - although the fact Roman Abramovich ended up paying £31.9 million move than he would have done five years earlier will surely irk Chelsea's billionaire owner.
Hazard set to sign new Chelsea deal
Chelsea are currently in the process of attempting to tie Hazard down to a new long-term contract. It's understood the Belgian star is on the verge of penning a new £200,000-a-week deal to stay at Stamford Bridge - making him the highest-paid player in the club's history.
Both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with moves for Hazard, who has scored nine goals in 26 appearances this season. But it seems Jose Mourinho has convinced the 24-year-old that his development is best served at Stamford Bridge rather than elsewhere.
Any club wanting to sign Hazard in the coming years will, in all likelihood, need to offer a world-record fee to so much as tempt Chelsea into selling their prized asset.
This would mean a bid of over £86 million - the record transfer fee Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale in the summer of 2013.
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