Despite a recent renaissance, there can be little doubting that Eden Hazard has endured a nightmarish season. The Chelsea winger has fallen a long way from the dizzying heights of 2015 when he garnered the PFA Player of the Year Award.
With just three league goals this season and not a single strike in the first five months of the campaign, Hazard has been a shadow of his former self. Nonetheless, the 25-year-old remains an integral part of a Chelsea squad trying to find its feet again in the Premier League.
While many Blues fans have been calling for his departure, allowing the Belgian to leave would prove vastly unwise. Here are three reasons why Chelsea simply cannot afford to let Hazard slip through their fingers this summer:
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It’s a common phrase in football that ‘form is temporary but class is permanent’ and this proves incredibly relevant to the case of Hazard. Selling the Belgian on the back of just one poor season when the previous three were so impressive appears illogical at best.
There can little denying that in terms of raw talent, few can match the ex-Lille wide man in European or even world football. Only a year ago Hazard spearheaded Chelsea’s title charge and became the youngest winner of the PFA Player of the Year Award since Gareth Bale in 2011.
The fact Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are still interested in a man with just five goals in 39 appearances speaks volumes. At the very least, the Stamford Bridge side should give the Belgian another season to make amends for his stagnant 2015-16.
Besides, sitting in ninth place, Chelsea are hardly in a position to be dispensing players with such talent as Hazard without a fight. On his day, the Belgian can be rivalled by very few and the Blues simply won’t be able to replace him.
At 25-years-old, Hazard is still a relatively new face on the European scene when you consider Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez all top 28. Consequently, it is understandable that the Belgian would have a season where his form has pandered off.
After all, this is a man that Chelsea played relentlessly from the moment they signed him in 2012, it can be little surprise that it’s finely caught up on him.
Many players of his age with an impetus on skill and footwork would simply be bullied amid the flying boots and tackles of the Premier League, but not Hazard. When you apply a little context, Hazard has done spectacularly well for Chelsea.
Moreover, his age indicates that there’s still more to come from the winger. The Blues would be unwise to let him go when it’s likely that his peak is still to come and it would allow ample time for the move to stab the Stamford Bridge side in the back.
Hazard’s horrendous form at the start of the season was little different to that of his fellow team mates who all seemed to flop under Jose Mourinho. While his form hasn’t picked up under Guus Hiddink, Chelsea haven’t exactly had anything to play for under the Dutchman.
Consequently, a clean slate under Antonio Conte could prove the perfect remedy for Hazard and breathe new life into his Chelsea career. There have been numerous cases in Premier League history where a player’s form has accelerated rapidly due to a managerial switch.
Moreover, rumours are circulating that Conte wants to make Hazard the focus of the team. This may reaffirm the Belgian’s belief that he is wanted at the club and he could thrive as a consequence.
Besides, if Hazard isn’t pulling his weight, the Italian will be the first man to ensure he picks up his game. The 25-year-old needs change and this could be the answer.
Therefore, considering Hazard’s undoubted talent, age and the impending arrival of Conte, there seems little motive for Chelsea to sell the Belgian. Besides, it’s a risk that given their current situation, they cannot afford to take.
Do you think Chelsea should keep Eden Hazard this summer? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!