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Of course The Sun were first to link Hazard to Barcelona as Neymar’s replacement

Barcelona are about to be flush with cash and need to replace one of the best players in the world.

I don’t like to deal with things that The Sun spews out on a daily, hourly, regular basis, but this one you’ll be seeing everywhere because it’s an easy sell.

“Barcelona ready to use Neymar cash to launch huge bids for Premier League pair Philippe Coutinho AND Eden Hazard” says the headline of the online version of the article after the glorious “BUY-CELONA” pun lead. The article, an “EXCLUSIVE” — so you know it’s super duper awesome — from Martin Lipton says exactly what you think it would say if you were trying to connect the dots between Barcelona losing one of the best players in the world and having enough cash to buy just about every player in the world not already on their team.

It is as expected as it is clickbaity. And it’s now being re-reported everywhere else, which is how these things always end up growing out of control. We’re undoubtedly contributing to that wall of noise as well, but it’s a lose-lose situation and perhaps talking about it in less sensationalistic (more realistic?) terms can attenuate some of that nonsense.

Can we definitely rule out a Hazard transfer to Barcelona? Of course not; we’re not Eden Hazard. Eden himself probably can’t rule it out either since he, like the rest of the world’s human population, cannot tell the future with 100 per cent accuracy. But having dealt with five years of Real Madrid rumors — a club that he had admitted to actually dreaming about — we shouldn’t be worried at all about these or any future Barcelona ones.

Antonio Conte stepped in front of this train a few days ago, too, though I don’t suspect that will make much difference as the Hazard rumor mill spins up again after taking a break for the last two months thanks to his ankle injury.

“I don't know anything about this situation. In the past I read a lot of stories about (Hazard going to) Real Madrid and now there is Barcelona. This is the transfer market and we must understand this.”

“Will Hazard stay with us? Yes. He is very happy to stay with us and to play for Chelsea.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard

Hazard to Barcelona? Nope.

Carry on.

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