Eden Hazard: Where will he end up?

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And so the saga continues. Just when Eden Hazard was due to put us all out of our misery by announcing who he would sign for next season, he in fact revealed that he didn’t know where he would be plying his trade after Lille’s final game of the season.


In fact far from clearing up the confusion over where he will be setting sail for next season, he threw another team in the mix by revealing his interest in a move to Chelsea, having previously pinned down his future to Manchester, be it either City or United.


So desperate was one site for the saga to be concluded that they were duped into believing a hoax site while another compared it to LeBron James cringe-worthy TV show, The Decision.


It is easy to see what the clamour for an announcement is however; the talented youngster signed off his career with Lille – in which he’s been named Ligue 1 player of the season twice in a row – by scoring a superb hat-trick over Nancy on Sunday.


Hazard’s future has been the subject of speculation for months now, with at least six Premier League teams linked with a move for the Belgian international at any one time this term. So, with an announcement due in the coming weeks, what club best suits the prospects of one of Europe's most coveted youngsters?


Manchester United


Manchester United’s interest in Hazard has long been confirmed; in many ways Sir Alex Ferguson’s trip to watch him play earlier this season confirmed just how special the Belgian international is.


Hazard fits into the mould of a United and Ferguson signing – he is young, quick and exciting, just as Cristiano Ronaldo was when he joined the Red Devils in 2003, but there is a real sticking point; his transfer fee.


Lille will want, and will likely get, over £30 million for Hazard when he eventually decides where he is heading.


Ferguson has long been concerned with value in the transfer market, but after Manchester City’s title win he has been implored to spend big and chief executive David Gill says the club can afford headline-grabbing transfer fees, so the Scot may be forced into action.


Hazard isn’t exactly what United need at this moment in time – if the fans had their way they would prefer £30 million spent on a creative, central midfield player but a signal of their club’s intent is what they require, and landing Hazard and getting one over their rivals would fit the bill perfectly.



Manchester City


Hazard’s father Thierry previous extolled the virtues of a move to a lesser side on the basis his son would develop and get more game time.


With so many high quality players on City’s books it is hard to say that Hazard will get the first team football he desires, although a summer clear-out at the Etihad Stadium may be on the cards.


However even if that is the case City look well stocked in players who can operate out wide in attacking areas in a team that usually operates with one striker, with Samir Nasri, David Silva, Carlos Tevez and Adam Johnson all vying for places in Roberto Mancini’s starting XI.


Having previously gushed about having Ferguson watching him play his response to learning that Mancini had travelled to see him in action was far more muted.


"I knew that Roberto Mancini was there - the coach told me - but I wasn't thinking about that. I just try to play my game,” he said in March – City fans will hope that’s not an indication of his desire for a move to Old Trafford.


City have the financial muscle to turn his head but there may just be enough doubts about where he would fit in to make him think twice.




Originally outsiders, Chelsea are now well in the hunt for Hazard’s signature.


On the day many expected him to announce his decision, Hazard threw Chelsea’s name into the mix following their Champions League final win over Bayern Munich on Saturday.


"Chelsea could interest me now,” he told Canal+. “They've won the Champions League and will therefore be in it next season. It's really important for me to be playing in that competition. Chelsea are a big club with some great players – of course it's a possibility.


Their participation in the Champions League next season is evidently crucial, while owner Roman Abramovich is set to attack the transfer market with renewed vigour this summer after securing success in the Champions League and then reportedly demanding three more.


Chelsea, despite their success in Europe, are in desperate need of an overhaul and are lacking a creative spark outside of Juan Mata, who has been over-relied upon this term.


Chelsea can offer him game time and have a vacancy on the right-hand side of midfield if the likes of Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda leave the club, although Daniel Sturridge has called that position home this season, and will not want to give it up.




Alas, any feint hopes Tottenham had of landing Hazard went up in smoke on Saturday, along with their Champions League qualification spot.


For a brief while, there was a real chance that Hazard would at least consider a move to White Hart Lane. Previously he had made the right noises, speaking on Belgian TV of how he liked the club and the respect he had for their players, most notably, for some reason, Niko Kranjcar .


Spurs boss Harry Redknapp went to see him play and liked what he saw, before he implored chairman Daniel Levy to take a punt on the long-term success of the club by splashing the cash.


He would also have been attracted by the prospect of playing in the Champions League for a team that plays with a certain panache, while also being more or less guaranteed a first team spot.


However there is little to no chance he will sign for Spurs now, even if Champions league football was on offer they would have likely still been crowded out by both Manchester clubs.


Now the Europa League beckons the unlikely has become even more so.

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