Will the talented young Belgian move to the Emirates, Stamford Bridge or Anfield?
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Chelsea have put down a marker in the chase for Eden Hazard after it emerged they have already tested Lille’s resolve over hanging on to Europe’s most wanted teenager.
Sources close to the 19-year old wing sensation claim he struck a deal with Lille president Michel Seydoux over his immediate future after Chelsea made an approach for him in the summer.
After rejecting Chelsea’s bid, Seydoux promised to look favourably on any subsequent offers at the end of the season, provided Hazard stayed put and tried to help them win their first French League title in 57 years.
Hazard went along with the agreement and has become a target for leading clubs across Europe after inspiring Lille to their best season in living memory.
They had top spot to themselves in France until a 1-1 draw at Bordeaux on Saturday allowed Marseille to overhaul them on goal difference, with their 4-0 win over Montpellier.
Even then, Hazard, whose form has been closely monitored by Liverpool scouts and even manager Roy Hodgson in recent weeks, almost snatched victory with a mazy run near the end.
Zinedine Zidane has done his best to push the Belgium flyer towards Real Madrid, but there are clear signs he could just as easily end up in the Premier League, following news of Chelsea’s move and his long-standing admiration for Arsenal.
‘For all the interest in him, Chelsea are the only ones who have made an approach,’ said a source.
‘He has agreed with the president that he will not leave in the January window, but something may well happen at the end of the season.
‘Of course, Real Madrid would be an attractive proposition, but Eden really likes Arsenal’s style of play under Arsene Wenger.
‘There is even something of Sami Nasri about him. He can play on either flank or through the middle, and he has great pace and technique. Arsenal would suit him perfectly.’ (Daily Mail)
One has to wonder who the Daily Mail’s quoted source is.
Whilst footballers often have a propensity to talk in the third person, it still seems doubtful that Hazard himself would speak in such a manner.
Similarly, agents don’t usually tend to remain anonymous, as any moment selling their clients’ services in the media is a potential advert to hire them too.
Nevertheless, it is interesting to hear that Chelsea made a concrete bid last summer, as their ageing forward line cannot go on forever.
Arsenal though hardly have a need for any more attacking midfielders, and while Hazard looks a very fine prospect indeed, there seems no need for them to sign him.
Liverpool though are the club with a desperate need for someone with Hazard’s attributes, and given that he would almost be guaranteed a first team place from the off, perhaps Anfield would be the best place for the young Belgian international to develop.
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