It's not even a week into the winter transfer window, but we've already reached peak Daily Mail. It's all downhill from here, ladies and gentlemen. (Or uphill, depending on your approach.)
Eden Hazard has made up his mind to leave Chelsea but he will not be sold this month.
Why not? It's been our policy for some time to not keep unhappy players around just for the fun of it. We either sell or we Malouda his disruptive presence into the reserves and the kids.
Hazard is understood to be resigned to leaving, despite having just signed a new five-year contract worth £200,000 a week last season. A club insider said problems started when Hazard and Jose Mourinho's relationship broke down earlier in the season and added: 'In his head he has already left. It would take some U-turn to keep him.'
Given that Hazard's relationship "broke down" for the umpteenth time with the manager who's no longer here, this time, unlike the umpteen times before, this time, this time, this time the breakdown's final. No going back. How ironic. Like rain on your wedding day, or some such.
(What's that? A U-turn? Some U-turn? How convenient!)
Hazard wants to continue competing in Europe's elite competition next season and Chelsea are unlikely to be able to offer him that as they sit 14th in the table.
Well, maybe if he had played a bit better earlier this season, we would still be in with a chance to make it back to the Champions League next season. Now we're just going to have to win the darn thing. Again. Maybe he could find it within himself to help us there?
The Mail then go on to resurrect the spectre of PSG, a team Hazard has several times categorically denied ever wanting to play for, and of course Real Madrid. Because young Eden's clearly so fickle as to uproot himself as soon as the dark clouds of non-European football appear on the horizon. In which case, good riddance.
Or, more likely, this is all just nonsense and the Mail are conveniently feeding the schism that has unfortunately appeared between the player and some of his previously adoring fans. Nice work. Well done. Give yourselves a pat on the back. Happy New Year and to all, a wonderful Silly Season.
Meanwhile, over in the Telegraph, the story is that Hazard is waiting to see who Chelsea will appoint as permanent manager before deciding to leave. Or stay. Or transform into a giant sandworm and rule as God Emperor of the known universe. Anything can happen. Everything is true and everything is false, until something isn't and something is.
(P.S.: Good luck on your injury rehab, Eden. Get well soon! And happy birthday!)