Chelsea legend Eden Hazard continues to live out a veritable nightmare at his dream club, and because he’s yet to live up to expectations at Real Madrid (never mind his transfer fee), he also continues to be linked with a return to Chelsea. That was of course nonsense last year and was nonsense last summer, and it’s pretty much still nonsense now, but we’re all bored here in the middle of the international break, so we’ve got this rumor making the rounds everywhere.
It’s an easy sell because nostalgia’s always an easy sell. And Chelsea have proven quite willing to bring back former players, often to great effect. But we’ve moved on from Hazard-dependency, and only that mythical, nostalgic version of Eden would actually improve the team at this point — a version that sadly does not exist anymore.
Every current Hazard story stems from a random report by a Catalonian media outlet called El Nacional over the weekend. Is it conceivable that they have some exclusive access to Hazard or his entourage over in Madrid? Sure. Is it likely even in the slightest? Probably not. But here we are, taking them seriously because nothing else is happening and quotas must be met. Silence is the death of clicks and the conversations must be kept going, regardless of how stupid they might be.
El Nacional, who hadn’t even bothered to put a byline on their story, claim that Roman Abramovich is “increasingly convinced” that Eden “would once again be one of the best players in the world if he wore Blue at Stamford Bridge”. If that’s true, I’ve got several business propositions for Roman as well.
These claims are supported by a vague claim of supposed “speculation” in England about “informal” talks between Chelsea and Florentino Pérez. If you look hard enough on the Internet, you’ll find speculation about anything.
Pretty standard rumor mongering up to this point, including a supposed €40m transfer fee, but where the report takes an even more preposterous turn is that Real would forgo a fee in favor of an exchange for Reece James. Reecey’s said to “very fond” of Carlo Ancelotti and less fond of the “competition” for minutes at Chelsea, which is a mind-blowing claim both conceptually and statistically — James played in every single Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup match for Tuchel last year bar his first game in charge, and has only missed time this season due to suspension or fitness concerns.
In any case, Hazard’s actually been pretty healthy so far this season. Like Romelu Lukaku, he did not play in Belgium’s UEFA Nations League third place game due to muscle fatigue and overload, but that’s nothing compared to the litany of muscle injuries he’s had since joining Real. We wish him (and Ancelotti, too) all the best of luck, unless of course we run into each other in the Champions League knockout rounds like last season.