Well well well, our very own Wheaties Eaters had what I believe is a very good idea. I therefore decided to talk the much talked-about, not much known-about Thorgan Hazard. As a Belgian, I have been delighted to see so many Belgian arrivals (let’s not forget the Musonda brothers) and Thorgan is one of my favourite loaned players. So here goes…
Thorgan Hazard, younger brother to our very own Eden was bought in what most thought was a package deal for two of three Hazard brothers. "Chelsea signs another Belgian player" or "Thorgan joins big brother Eden". That’s probably how you heard the news. On the other hand, Chelsea FC official website is also guilty of pulling the same trick.
Aside from sharing the name of two heroes, the comic book hero Thorgan and the Chelsea player Hazard, Thorgan hasn’t been surfing on his brothers’ wave of fame. As a fourteen year old, he had the opportunity to join Eden in Lille as the club was interested in both players but decided against it, joining Lens instead.
What followed turned out to be a completely different story to his brothers’: Lille was a club on the rise – Lens, however, was not. Younger than his brother was, he could not get a starting position and his impact was minimal. A small storm of financial troubles meant that Lens was forced to sell some of their marketable players and this is where our story begins.
Chelsea officially announced his transfer on July 24 2012.
A low profile signing to be certain; most neutral football fans would not have known he became a Chelsea player but as it turns out, Hazard 2.0 can be quite the hazardous player himself.
2012-2013: Breaking out by coming home
While the older brother was doing his best to give us Champions League football, the younger one was doing exactly the same. Not only was he trying to give Zulte Waregem Champions League football but the team finished championship runners up to famed Belgium club Anderlecht.
Statistically, Thorgan did well for himself providing 5 goals and 11 assists in 34 games. Ending his season on a high was always going to be important and he did not disappoint: providing four assists and one goal in his last ten matches
Belgium folk have been thoroughly impressed by Thorgan, irrefutably stepping out of Eden’s shadow, he is a now considered an "espoir" (which translates as hope) for Belgium Football.
Zulte Waregem, Top scorer and teammate Leye even dubbed him the most talented young player in the country.
For those who have not seen him play before, here are samples of his season
Before we begin, let’s make one thing clear: Eden is a genius, right now he can do everything his brother can and a little more. For those who have not witnessed Thorgan playing; his playing style might come as a bit of a surprise. Although they enjoy playing in similar positions, they just don’t play the same game.
Passing: Does anyone remember that Oscar assist for Jo against Japan during the Confederation Cup? That is what Thorgan loves to do. His short-medium range passing is simply incredible. He loves the passing game and often employs the quick pass/move/pass method with his teammates. How is that different to his brother? Thorgan is a smarter passer than Eden. He has better overall vision and makes better quick-decisions when passing the ball. He seems to be outrageously aware of player movements and positioning. Strictly speaking, he reads the game incredibly well.
Technique: Aside from being very good at football, most members of the family simply love the back heel flick; Thorgan has done it a few times this season and mostly to good effect. Unlike Eden, he will usually look for the pass but do not doubt that he is very capable on the ball.
Thorgan Hazard - Chelsea FC Rising Star - Skills / Dribbling / Assists / Goals - 2012/2013 HD (via TheKing7H (the footage is from his playing days in Lens and pretty poor quality, they do show he does have the ability to skip past players)
Running style/Stamina: This will make you laugh. Both brothers run in exactly the same way and from what I’ve heard Kylian (the third brother) does too. Thorgan is often touted as the brother with better stamina but Eden’s improvement can’t have gone unnoticed. Not as explosive as Eden, Thorgan compensates for that "lack" with better upper body strength. He is capable of shouldering a challenge (Drogba/Lukaku-style) and his top speed is similar to his older brothers’. He used to work more than Eden but the latter has clearly improved in this department.
Shooting/Finishing: He enjoys shooting from a distance, he is right footed but has shown that he doesn’t mind shooting with his left foot (looking at you Torres). On the other hand, he lacks the finishing touch and that can be pretty frustrating, this is definitely an area in which he has to improve.
Positioning: As pointed out above, he reads the game better than his brother. Whereas some people say that he has better stamina, I’m confident that it is his ability to read the game and position himself which gives him this reputation as he can pace his efforts better. He therefore is also more reliable in defense.
Free Kicks: He’s no Beckham but he’s got one hell of a right foot. He isn’t as good as Mata/Luiz as of yet but he’s been improving a lot
What can we expect from him?
Right now, don’t expect much. He will go back on loan, with Anderlecht, Genk, Zulte and PSV apparently very interested. He understands that his brother’s development is exceptional and Thorgan has always stated that he wishes to progress at his own rhythm. Don’t expect him to grow like Eden. He is becoming a different animal entirely. As of this day, I would say his development is leading him towards a style of player comparable to Iniesta. He can shoot, he can pass, he is quick, he reads the game and he doesn’t make much of a fuss when on the field. Iniesta is not the best in any particular field but he’s certainly the second best in most departments. This is what Thorgan can grow to become.
Simply put, he might become better than Eden but he won’t become as visible.
Simply put, he is a lot more Barcelona to Eden’s Real Madrid.
Simply put, I think he’s very good