Tomorrow, when the calendar rolls over to 2019 and the January transfer window creeps open, we will officially enter the final 18 months of Eden Hazard’s contract. Set to expire at the end of June 2020, it’s coming down to the wire whether or not he signs the new deal that’s been tabled for at least a year if not two, which would make him the highest paid player in Chelsea history and ensure that he finishes his career as a Chelsea legend.
While he recently got everyone excited by saying that he wants to accomplish just that and join the pantheon of heroes alongside the likes of Lampard, Terry, an Drogba, he’s even more recently also made it clear that, just like he said at the beginning of the season, he’s not going to make a decision until he sees how this season turns out. Meanwhile, he will be looking for Chelsea to show ambition (with signings) and progress on the pitch (i.e. Champions League qualification and a style more to his liking).
So far, we can comfortably say that Chelsea have ticked those boxes. The signings of Kepa, Jorginho, and (hopefully in the future) Kovačić and Pulisic show that Chelsea are willing to continue spending — as do the contract extensions and wage rises for Kanté, Azpilicueta and Alonso. The team’s putting together a solid top-four challenge while challenging across four competitions, and Sarri’s style gets Hazard on the ball more often than anytime previous at Chelsea.
And Sarri’s tactics haven’t just given Hazard more freedom, they’ve also reinvented parts of his game and, for the first time, have can be a more than capable center forward as well. It’s this latter part that gives Hazard’s international manager, former Everton head coach Roberto Martinez belief that leaving Chelsea would not be the best move for Hazard’s career.
“Eden Hazard will never let you down. He honestly cares about the people around him. I don’t know if a new challenge would be good for him. He knows how much they love him at Chelsea. And there’s chemistry between Sarri and him...
“Eden enjoys himself at Chelsea. He has reached an exceptionnel level at that club. Then it’s uncertain if a new project would be good for him. I’m convinced that he can reinvent himself at Chelsea. Look at him now - even as a ‘9’”
-Roberto Martinez; source: HLN via @HLNinEngeland
Of course, the only person who can make this decision is Hazard himself. It’s clearly not an easy decision to make — for him, not for us in what we’d want him to decide. He will be turning 28 in a week, and knows that it is practically the biggest decision of his career.
Hopefully he listens to good advice like this from Bobby M.
Bobby M: “Eden enjoys himself at Chelsea. He has reached an exceptionnel level at that club. Then it’s uncertain if a new project would be good for him. I’m convinced that he can reinvent himself at Chelsea. Look at him now - even as a ‘9’. #cfc pic.twitter.com/jlbuabCL6Q— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) December 31, 2018