It’s called the “Thanos Back To Me” meme. Two screencaps from Avengers: Endgame with Thanos saying his classic “You could not live with your own failure; where did that bring you? Back to me” lines.
That’s basically the story we’re being sold by various rumor-mongers over the past 48 hours, with both Eden Hazard and Willian supposedly wanting to come back to Chelsea following less-than-good seasons at Real Madrid and Arsenal, respectively. (And in Hazard’s case, it’s two less-than-good seasons in fact.)
Nostalgia is a cheap drug, and there’s been plenty of immediate emotional reaction to these bits of obvious nonsense. And of course you can never say never in football, and we did bring back the likes of David Luiz and Didier Drogba to great effect before (though the latter was more of a symbolic move than the former, who filled an actual need).
But is there any actual truth to these? On some level, probably — both players are club legends and had the best years of their lives at the Bridge. Why wouldn’t they want to come back?
But is there any actual chance of these happening? Unlikely, to say the least.
Even if we look beyond the players’ current contractual situations — Hazard has three years left; Willian two — or the finances involved (considerable wages for both, especially Eden), they have become shadows of the players we once knew. Hazard, now 30 and plagued by injuries after staying remarkably durable during his time here, has seen his Real Madrid dream turn into a nightmare. He is constantly hounded by the local media, who are clearly the ones pushing for his exit and linking him with Chelsea.
EXCLUSIVA de @EduAguirre7— El Chiringuito TV (@elchiringuitotv) May 24, 2021
"HAZARD QUIERE IRSE del REAL MADRID"
⚠️"Piensa que la LLEGADA de MBAPPÉ le deja fuera"
‼️ "QUIERE volver al CHELSEA"#ChiringuitoHazard pic.twitter.com/PqhHnFVNBJ
Willian has not done any better at Arsenal other than avoiding injury. He was never really known for goalscoring, but he has just one (1) goal to his name in the worst season of his professional career at age 32. The wisdom of Chelsea offering him a two-year contract was questionable last summer, to say the least, and then Arsenal went on to give him three.
Willian may have played his last game for Arsenal – with the Brazilian winger understood to be keen on a return to Stamford Bridge.— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 25, 2021
Their times at Chelsea are over. We’ve turned the Hazard money into a full rebuild of the attack. Willian could’ve stayed; he chose not to. Let us remember them for who they were rather than who they are.
Chelsea have a young and exciting and still improving squad, parts of it assembled at great expense. Let us look forward, not back.