We may be more than halfway through the transfer window, but the summer of big decisions is only in its infancy.
Having appointed a new head coach, finally, and made an excellent move by signing Jorginho, Chelsea’s attentions now have to turn to the Eden Hazard contract situation. The Chelsea star, who put the finishing touches on an excellent World Cup in Saturday’s 2-0 win over England, has two years left on his contract and the constant Real Madrid rumors are once again increasing in volume.
Prior to the game, random pundit Brian Laudrup already claimed that Hazard was ‘preparing’ to go to Real Madrid.
After the game, Eden Hazard addresses the situation as well. As usual, his answer doesn’t say anything in the definitive, but it’s definitely the closest he’s come to actually confirming a desire to leave Chelsea. He stopped at “might be”, before putting the ball in Chelsea’s court.
“I will go on holiday and ask myself the right questions. After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision — if they want to let me go.
“For my career, certainly after this World Cup, I’m at a moment where I might change.”
“We all know that I’ve always felt well at Chelsea, and I’ve been linked to all the big clubs. Next week it will be Bayern (Munich). No I’m joking. You all know my preferred destination.”
The answer by Hazard certainly starts off as a goodbye speech. Others have called it a “come and get me plea” — and a move certainly would need a plea since Real Madrid (and their “special” white jerseys) haven’t actually made a bid, head coach and Hazard idol Zinedine Zidane is gone, and the club’s preferred Cristiano Ronaldo replacements both play at PSG instead.
But it gets better as it goes on. For now, that’s definitely a positive point. The “final decision” is Chelsea’s and that includes the contract talks, the direction and ambition of the club, and anything else that Hazard would need to stay. If the situation isn’t handled to perfection, Hazard is likely gone.
One positive step in that direction should be the recently confirmed appointment of Maurizio Sarri. His methods, his style could very much appeal to Hazard, and a lot will depend on the relationship those two could develop whenever they do get a chance to talk. With Hazard heading off on vacation and Sarri heading to work at Chelsea on Monday, this is yet another delicate situation that has to be handled with proper care and attention.
“We knew for a while that Sarri was going to become the new manager. Now it’s official. If he’s a good manager? If he lets me win trophies, yes. Dries Mertens has said its a good manager. We will have to work hard. The Italian way, but we were used to that with Antonio Conte too. We will see what happens.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Telegraph
As long as Sarri is able to get Hazard to buy into his ideas, his way of football and his philosophy, we should be fine.
Lastly, there is also the issue of Hazard wanting Chelsea to sign great players, as he would like to play at a club that consistently challenges for trophies rather than being the football-equivalent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Surely, the gazumping of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City for Jorginho’s signature is a statement of ambition and one that Hazard should notice as well.
Between Sarri, Jorginho, and any future transfer targets such as Daniele Rugani or Aleksandr Golovin, there’s no reason why we couldn’t convince Hazard to stay. He hasn’t shut the Chelsea door, he’s only peaking out of it to see what’s out there.
Chelsea only need to continue with the same intensity, determination and precision at which we finalized the Jorginho transfer. And if Hazard’s time is truly up, the untold millions received for him must be invested just as wisely.