Over the past 24 hours, headlines proclaiming that Eden Hazard has “agreed terms” with Real Madrid have been ubiquitous, increasing in volume through the echo chamber of Twitter and the feedback loop of tabloids and backpages until they’ve become impossible to ignore.
A lot of noise coming out of Spain today that #Hazard has agreed a deal to join Real Madrid. It's news to #cfc.— Simon Johnson (@sjstandardsport) December 5, 2018
So here we are, paying attention to this nonsense.
I’m fairly confident in calling it nonsense based on the pattern of the rumor — like weather patterns, you can generally take a good guess as to what will happen, with the understanding that it’s impossible to predict things with 100 per cent accuracy and every once in a while, you will get caught out.
Is it a done deal? Real Madrid have reportedly "agreed personal terms" with Eden Hazard.— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 6, 2018
Latest football gossip https://t.co/nneJh73rAR #CFC pic.twitter.com/AZ1PjRIK5e
As our most trusted source when it comes to all things Belgian footballer in the Premier League, Kristof Terreur points out, the pattern is just like last summer.
Cue the ‘jumping ahead of the queue’ websites announcing agreements over Eden Hazard & Real Madrid like last summer. Before that happens there has to be an official offer first. Last summer it rained agreements on the web while Chelsea kept the door shut and there were no talks.— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) December 5, 2018
It all started with something called Onda Madrid, one of Madrid’s multitude of local radio stations — not to be confused with the rumor mongers at national networks like Onda Cero, Cadena SER, and Cadena COPE. Local sources can often have the inside track on local teams, though Real Madrid can hardly be considered local news.
Onda Madrid have at least three separate sport shows, with the one at 1pm and the one at 9pm “advancing” the story of the bigger umbrella of Onda Madrid and TeleMadrid, which claimed that “Operation Hazard” remains a priority for Real Madrid, with Chelsea holding out for €170m but Real possibly looking to swing a deal involving cash (€100m) and two players (Kovačić and Asensio). Variations on this theme have existed for some time now; this is about as interesting or as groundbreaking as Hazard saying that he could look to leave but could also look to stay.
So, to actually make things interesting, Partido de la Una and Partido de las Nueve add that ACTUALLY, Hazard already has a personal agreement for next season with Real — it’s a solid bet when there’s a 50-50 chance Hazard doesn’t extend with Chelsea — and now Real only have to figure out a deal with Chelsea.
Now we’re cooking.
Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo were among the first to pick this up, and from there, it’s spread like the plague, consuming all in its path.
¡OJO! @ondamadrid: Acuerdo Real Madrid-Hazard para 2019 ✍️ https://t.co/n0p5K5hRr4 pic.twitter.com/dKsJP7aIUD— Mundo Deportivo (@mundodeportivo) December 5, 2018
Within a few hours, the likes of the Mirror and talkSport were on the repeater, and this morning even the BBC’s “gossip” section put it as the lead item. Not a single one of these takes even a second to consider whether the story makes any sense whatsoever. Journalism!
Meanwhile, the situation itself hasn’t actually changed. There’s an offer on the table, ready to sign, but Hazard isn’t ready to make a decision. Rinse, repeat, wait some more.