Hazard-ous way to conduct your business

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One person on Twitter likened Eden Hazard to a lap dancer; writhing around and posturing for attention and cash in equal measures.


Each of the five clubs to have declared an interest in him have received a shout-out in months gone by, from Tottenham ('It’s a great English club') to the latest to slip a fiver into his PVC undies, Chelsea (‘of course it’s a possibility’) – the Belgian international has manouvered himself right into the heart of a quite fearsome transfer battle.


Now reports suggest that Chelsea have won the race - which, if proved true, marks the end of a lengthy, but ultimatley frutiful pursuit by the Blues.


Since becoming the youngest professional in Ligue 1 aged just 16 and three months, Hazard has been on startling upward trajectory that has taken him to the verge of a multi-million pound move to one of the richest clubs in the world having spent just 21 years on this planet.


In fact, it is hard to think of another talented youngster to have sucked in the great and good of the game at such a tender age and with such a hefty fee not to have emerged from a Brazilian Favela; even Cristiano Ronaldo only set Manchester United back around £12 million back in 2003.


Then again, the kerfuffle is understandable given Zinédine Zidane’s revelation that he would sign Hazard 'with his eyes closed' were he Real Madrid coach, rather than its sporting director.


One thing that stands out above all else with Hazard is his self-assuredness; for one so young he appears on the surface at least like football is the easiest game in the world to master – an ability the very best seem to have – and his attitude reflects that. Perhaps that's what being named Ligue 1 player of the season for two consecutive seasons does to a man.


When confronted by the prospect of being watched by Sir Alex Ferguson this season during Lille’s game against Lyon he merely shrugged: "I didn't know he was here. Maybe he's tired."


And for all the fluster that surrounds him much of it is press fervour. After his final game for Lille against Nancy (in which he claimed a hat-trick to become the second highest scorer in Ligue 1) many had expected him to announce his future club only for him to cloud the waters by throwing Chelsea’s name in the mix.

Cue much derision – except he never said that he would announce his decision after the game, instead inferring only that he would do it once the season was over.


Now that a deal appears to have been finally been concluded though, the hype surrounding Hazard can abate at least for a while as the Euros take centre stage and those passing judgment and demanding their pound of flesh can actually watch him in action for a full 90 minutes once the new season begins.


For all the press cuttings and will-he-won’t he melodrama, Chelsea and plenty of other clubs believe he is worth the hype, especially if they have parted ways with the vast majority of £35 million. Now the focus switches to how he will fit in with the Blues remodeling project that will surely continue next season.


Chelsea’s other new signing, Marko Marin, who occupies the same space on the pitch as Hazard, must be wondering why he made such a decision to head to Stamford Bridge.


A penny for his thoughts now that the number 10 shirt that he wears for Werder Bremen is in the sights of Hazard – he should ask Daniel Sturridge what happens when a young forward is usurped by a big-name signing.


Juan Mata, the man who has burst his lungs for the Chelsea cause this season and current occupant of the number 10 shirt, may also be looking down the barrel of a prolonged spell out wide – after all, Hazard revealed last week he would only move to a club willing to offer him a central role so we can only presume that is what he will get at Chelsea.


While Marin may ponder his decision, Roman Abramovich must be revelling in his – not only is he on the verge of creating, on paper at least, one of the most exciting attacking line-ups on the planet, he has done so by persuading the man everyone wants to chose his club over all others.


However, how he, or more pertinently the man he decides should take control of his team next season, harnesses all these creative talents is another question altogether.


Hazard, Mata, Fernando Torres are a deadly triumvirate that will frighten most Premier League defenders, while Marin could be shoe-horned in elsewhere, most likely in a wide position, or as back-up.

With Didier Drogba departing and Torres taking up the mantle as sole leading striker for the Blues, one thing they won’t be lacking next season, is pace.


It is always a difficult balancing act managing so many quality players gunning for so few spots though, and if the rumour mill is to be believed (which frankly it never should be) there is plenty more to come this summer as well. Roberto di Matteo’s chances of landing the full-time job appear diminished.


But for now that will not concern Chelsea; they could have found the jewel to embellish their recently polished crown and after a season of slumber they are once again awake and a dangerous prospect.


After their Champions League success earlier this month Abramovich was said to have promised a push to make Chelsea dominant in Europe for years to come. In signing Hazard, he will have landed a truly significant blow.

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