An extremely talented player, Hazard will not have endeared himself to fans of any club with his constant flip flopping between the teams he was apparently set to sign for.
Initially it appeared he had his heart set on Manchester, with United and City set to battle for his signature. It was believed that United lead the race but at the last minute, off of the strength of their Champions League win, Hazard opted for Chelsea.
Upon joining the west London outfit, he spoke with their official channel but his comments are somewhat contradictory and intriguing to say the least:
“I spoke with Abramovich, he is very simple and loves football.
“We were on the same wavelength, he wants to confirm Chelsea’s position at the top. Chelsea have made a good investment for me but I did not put any pressure on them.
“I’ve always said I wanted to play in England. There was a struggle between Chelsea and United, but according to me Chelsea has the best project.
“I was in advanced contact with both clubs and I spoke to both coaches. I want to be playing in the Champions League every year.
“When they won the Champions League, I told myself: ‘Why not Chelsea?’ The team is young and I have a better chance to play there.
“At 21, Real Madrid or Barcelona would have been more difficult for me. If I play well enough at Chelsea, I could win my place in the starting team and my priority is to play.”
So lets have a look at what he actually said here, and lets see if we can poke some holes in what I think was an extremely weak defence of him opting for Roman’s money.
“I want to be playing in the Champions League every year. Initially, Chelsea were sixth and not qualified for the Champions League.”
I can’t be the only person that sees what is wrong with this.
Chelsea won the Champions League and no matter how much luck was involved in this, they have to be congratulated as en route to doing so they managed to beat Barcelona as well as Bayern Munich in their backyard. But in the same breath they essentially won the lottery; their league position was such that had they not won the game they would have been playing in the Europa League.
There is no guarantee that they will improve next season (although it appears winning in Munich has rekindled Abramovich’s love for spending again) and with their managerial situation still uncertain it makes two more comments Hazard made even more ridiculous:
“I was in advanced contact with both clubs and I spoke to both coaches.”
“According to me Chelsea has the best project”
I am intrigued as to who Hazard spoke to when he says he spoke to both coaches; has he indadvertedly revealed that Chelsea plan to hire Di Matteo full time? Or was he sold a dream by a man that may not be in charge by the time Chelsea are ready to play their first competitive game of the coming season?
At the time of signing Chelsea had no set manager in place, thus leaving an air of uncertainty about the club. This makes me even more sceptical about his assertions that Chelsea’s project is indeed better than United’s. I don’t think I’d be alone in taking the word of a man that has been running his ship for 26 years ahead of whatever ‘coach’ Hazard claims to have spoken to.
Hazard claims a conversation with Abramovich helped sway him, so did Abramovich lay out his transfer plans as well as his show him his managerial shortlist?
I think this is unlikely, so how exactly was Hazard able to ascertain that Chelsea’s project was indeed better than United’s?
Hazard went on to say:
“The team is young and I have a better chance to play there. At 21, Real Madrid or Barcelona would have been more difficult for me.”
I am intrigued as to why he even mentioned Barca and Real Madrid when he said with his own mouth:
“I’ve always said I wanted to play in England.”
Conveniently he left United out of this part because he knew such excuses wouldn’t wash. United too have a young team (younger than Chelsea’s) and he knows he had as good a chance getting games at Old Trafford as he did anywhere else.
Manchester United are not exactly overflowing with talent centrally so I, like many others, believe he would have been central to our plans this coming season.
Rene Meulensteen confirmed the high esteem Sir Alex held Hazard in in Voetbal International back in April, and most importantly Sir Alex himself confirmed his interest in, and praised Hazard on French radio after watching him play against Lyon in April, so the notion that we would have spent £32m to have him sat on the bench is absurd.
Of the 3 English teams he was apparently picking from, I, like many, would have ranked Chelsea bottom even with their Champions League win. Hazard’s actions throughout this drawn out saga have painted him as a mercenary, whoring himself to a number of clubs with his flirtatious comments and I think this statement is a poor attempt to reverse the damage he has done.
But if anything it has made things worse, as he appears to be making excuses for his choice with weak arguments. He has made his decision now and whilst I won’t be wishing him well, I will be interested in how he and Chelsea fair because he may find that he has simply boarded a sinking ship, briefly kept afloat by their Champions League win.
It will take some serious work for Hazard’s Chelsea to usurp United and City’s place atop the English game but Roman has assured him of this, and it is on the strength of this that he signed so a second coming of the Roman Empire must be on it’s way!
I wouldn’t hold my breath though.