Chelsea’s two Belgium stars, Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard, are both looking at contract extensions. Both have given indications that they’re willing to sign-up for another stint, Hazard as recently as January and Courtois just this week. And both say they want a clear mind going into the World Cup this summer.
Where they part ways is how they’re going about getting that clear mind.
Thibaut says he just wants to know where he stands come the end of the season. Maybe he’ll have a new deal, maybe he’ll go into the tournament knowing it’ll be handled later. He’s easy.
Hazard isn’t. He wants to banish all thoughts of a contract negotiation until Russia is done and dusted.
“Look, I’m going to finish the season first, then play the World Cup and then I’ll leave on holiday.
“We’ll see what happens next. I haven’t thought about it yet; I have another two years’ contract with Chelsea. I am very happy. I just think about the end of the season and the World Cup.”
The bit about being very happy is something he’s said more than once. At some point we have to take him at his word that he’s not longing for the warm embrace of Spanish weather and Real Madrid.
After the loss to Manchester City, in which he again played as a striker, the inexhaustible media rumor mill spent a lot of energy spinning stories that Hazard would leave Chelsea if Conte used him out of position again. On Monday Eden spiked those stories. Emphatically.
“I just want to be on the pitch. No 9 or No 10. I can play left-back if the manager wants me to, no problem.”
(Descend into reverie about Eden Hazard at left-back. Snap out of it in a cold sweat.)
We don’t know exactly what kind of money Hazard will be asking for. It’s probably going to be a lot. He’s making £200,000-a-week right now and it’s going to go up. Earlier rumors put it at a generous £300,000, and that’s probably a good starting point. But lost in the talk of an austerity program at Stamford Bridge is that the club still pays the players generously and there’s been no indication of that changing anytime soon. So it seems reasonable to assume that the two sides will figure it out.
In the meantime, all Hazard wants to think about is closing out the season on a strong note and captaining Belgium to their first-ever World Cup final.
“Four years ago it was the first World Cup for most of the players. Now we have experience. We know what to do to be ready. We have one target, which is to reach the final.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Guardian
That would be fun to see. Especially if viewed from a perch inside the Premier League’s top four.