What next for Hazard?
Eden Hazard bowed out of French football with a stunning hat-trick for Lille at the weekend and now the focus is on where the talented youngster will be playing football next season.
It had appeared that Hazard was choosing between the two Manchester clubs, but after the match on Sunday he stated that Chelsea had shown interest and he was still debating over where he wanted to go. The tricky playmaker has made his transfer very public and there has even been a suggestion that the Chelsea interest was just a rumour made up by his agent to generate a better financial offer from Manchester City.
At the age of just 21, it seems that Hazard is demanding an absurd amount of money despite proving nothing in the sport. He has been fantastic in the French league, but the Premier league is a different proposition altogether. For a start, the physical demands in the English game are strenuous, especially for the smaller players such as Hazard. If he makes his way to England, he is bound to get kicked a few times; this is when we will see his real credentials as a world-class footballer. Will he get back up and give as good as he gets? Or will he go missing and shy away from the rough and tumble? As well as the physical challenge, there is also a notable difference in the pace of the matches in England as opposed to France. Although this shouldn’t be a problem for Hazard, it may take a season for him to adjust to this new style of football and if a club is paying a player £250,000 a week, immediate impact is a must.
Although he may have issues settling in and adjusting to the English game, there is also reason to believe that he will have an immediate impact and light up the Premier league. He is frighteningly quick and extremely skilful and there is no one in the English game at the moment who can humiliate defenders in the way that he has done in his Lille career. Not only can he take a whole team on, he has an end product, even at his tender age. Eden has racked up the goals and assists this season, scoring 22 and setting up 16 in 48 appearances. This is very impressive and demonstrates his predatory instincts and unselfishness in front of goal.
There is no doubt that Eden Hazard is ready to make the step up to top-class football, but the question remains, who will he be playing for next season? Manchester City remain the favourites to secure his signature, but his wage demands seem unreasonable. He needs to be careful in what he says in the media, or else he may find top clubs pulling out of the race to sign him, therefore leaving him with a slim choice on who to commit his future to. We have seen the same situations arise over the years where players have been money motivated; the most recent is Adebayor at Tottenham. He wants to stay at Spurs, but they are not prepared to pay the £170,000 a week wage that he is currently getting from Manchester City – the Togolese hit man may ultimately find it difficult to secure a permanent deal due to the fact that he is more concerned on how best to fill his pockets.
Hopefully Hazard will mature and grow in a progressive fashion with a club. This is why a move to Manchester United may be the most beneficial to him in the long run as Sir Alex will be able to manipulate his attitude in a way that will be more destructive to the opposition rather than to himself. This kid could have the same impact that Cristiano Ronaldo had at United – yes he is that good – but he needs the right guidance and role models around him in order to fulfill his maximum potential. Manchester United fit the bill as they have senior players who have seen it all and won it all; Manchester City don’t fit the bill as they have Carlos Tevez as a dressing room influence.