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Chelsea looking for ‘encouragement’ from Hazard before offering record contract — report

Even the “slightest” encouragement will do

Chelsea v Huddersfield Town - Premier League Getty Images

Yesterday, we heard the story from Eden Hazard’s perspective.

He’s truly undecided about his future and is keeping all options open. He’s happy to stay, happy to go, happy to talk, happy to tease. It’s perhaps important to remember that back in 2012, he flirted with every team before taking the Chelsea offer. He’s a bit more mature these days, but still probably enjoys having everybody wrapped around his little finger and playing with our emotions.

It’s also obviously a very important decision for him; his last big contract, probably, of an already stellar career. The last chance to decide between this Real Madrid “dream” (if they can even afford him) and truly becoming a Chelsea legend. We may not be Real Madrid, but surely that stands for something as well. With his family apparently very happy in London, pushing to leave may be a more selfish move than he’s capable of in the first place.

But that’s all speculation. All we know for sure is that there is no new contract, no new talks, and no decision one way or another.

Which raises the bewildering question of just what are Chelsea waiting for? There was an offer tabled at some point last winter, a club-record contract offer, which was rejected and there’s been no real movement ever since. Lots of rumors once way or another, but nothing serious.

Along similar lines, here’s Sky Sports reporting that Chelsea “intend to convince Eden Hazard to stay”. And that’s great, but we should be well past the “intention” phase of this process at this point. This is more of the same old, same old useless rumor fodder.

ESPN’s version of this report, from Liam Twomey, contains an interesting line however. It perhaps hints at where Chelsea’s thinking is at the moment.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Chelsea are prepared to make Hazard the highest-paid player in the club’s history to commit him to a new deal, and they would put the contract and pen in front of him tomorrow if given the slightest encouragement.

-source: ESPN

Whoever ESPN’s sources may be, they hint at a situation where Chelsea are waiting for Hazard to actually commit his future to the club before making him the highest paid player in club history at £300,000 per week (or whatever it may be now, almost a year after it was initially offered). As ever, contract negotiations are a high stakes game of leverage and bluffing and agenting and other such shenanigans, and Chelsea do not want to be taken advantage of either. Hazard may be important, but the club is even more important.

And so we seemingly have a bit of a standoff. Chelsea want a bit more commitment from Hazard, but he doesn’t seem ready to give it just yet. And while it would probably behoove Chelsea to do everything in the club’s power to entice and encourage that commitment, it’s also probably a reasonable course of action to make a deal that’s beneficial to both parties, not just the player. At the end of the day, it’s a two-way relationship and both sides need to be clear in their intention to want to continue it.

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