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With Chelsea being prohibited in signing new players for the next two windows due to improper conduct when acquiring youth players, the Blues could find themselves in a predicament come the start of next season.
It was no wonder why Maurizio Sarri’s side were as active as they were in the January market, signing two high profile international players in Christian Pulisic and Gonzalo Higuain.
There was plenty of speculation at the time regarding why Pulisic was signed out of the blue, but given Eden Hazard’s non-committal stance in the current climate, the club are evidently leaning towards the Belgium international leaving rather than staying put.
The West London club would also have been aware that this transfer ban was looming, and so pre-empted any suspensions by signing players to see them through until they are permitted to delve back into the market.
At 28 years old, Hazard now enters into his last big contract – either with Chelsea or, most probably, Real Madrid. There might be other suitors that come out of the woodwork, but it appears that these are the two leading clubs for Hazard’s signature and for his loyalty during his prime years.
When Hazard initially signed for the Blues, he announced it by saying he was signing for the Champions League winners, back in 2012. Since then, the club have come as far as the semi-finals and crashed out to Atletico Madrid. It has been far more common to see Hazard’s side bowing out in the round of 16.
With that being said, Hazard has still won many honours in his six-and-a-half years at the club and will be remembered for being one of Chelsea’s all-time great players when he decides the time is right to move on.
Chelsea are likely to appeal the decision and try to reduce the sentence to only be banned for the summer transfer window, but even if that is the case, Hazard would likely be carrying a dysfunctional team throughout another year, just as he has done this season.
For Hazard, it only makes sense that he wants to complete his trophy cabinet with the Champions League – the most prestigious of all tournaments out there. With Real Madrid suffering the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo during this campaign, as well as the inconsistent efforts of Gareth Bale, Hazard will be at the forefront of their mind in the summer – just as he has been for the past number of years.
Chelsea are in no way inclined to sell the Belgian, but with one-year left on his contract when the summer approaches, it makes sense for the Blues to cash in before he can sign a pre-contract the following January and leave on a free transfer. The club have been resisting approaches and offers for a number of years, but Hazard might just be able to force his departure.
The season, so far, has not gone to plan for Sarri at Chelsea, with the Italian coach being rooted to his philosophy with no room for manoeuvre whatsoever. Perhaps the former Napoli manager has found it difficult to adjust to English football, but it looks as if Hazard might miss out on Champions League football once again next season if things remain the same between now and the end of the season.
As a player who has aspirations of playing at the very elite level of football – as he has been doing during his Chelsea career and for Belgium – stepping away from the limelight of Europe’s top-tier competition for consecutive seasons is not ideal. Hazard, to this day, only has six Champions League goals to his name, which is not what he wants to be remembered for when the time comes to hanging his boots up.
With former teammate Thibaut Courtois over in Real Madrid already and talking to the press about a potential Hazard reunion, there will be a lot of background work now being done in preparation for the summer months. Los Blancos are usually a club who leave a lot of their high profile names to the last weeks of the transfer window, but Chelsea might now be more open to selling after the purchase of Pulisic.
The acquisition of the American, at the very least, provides Chelsea with a replacement if Hazard’s decision is to leave for the Spanish capital. With the club not being able to sign anyone else, it is a risky decision given Pulisic’s sub-par performances this season, as well as the possible difficulty of adapting within seconds to Premier League football.
For Hazard’s sake, it is time to leave Chelsea. He has won domestic titles and led this team as far as they can go – especially with how current affairs are looking under Sarri. The Belgium international needs to spread his wings, go over to Spain and assert his dominance in the Champions League with Real Madrid.
This saga has been drawn out for a number of years now, but this summer might finally be the end of it, as well as Hazard’s time at Chelsea.
Eden Hazard To Sign For Any Spanish Club Before 2nd September 2019 4/6