One man who remains heavily linked with a switch to Chelsea is former player Eden Hazard, the Belgian dynamo potentially set for a return to a club in which he won two Premier League titles and two Europa Leagues during a glorious and decorated seven-year spell.
Despite the obvious romance of bringing a former hero back to where is so fondly remembered, there is seemingly little logic in Chelsea attempting to rescue the 31-year-old from his disastrous stint in the Spanish capital at Real Madrid, particularly considering both his value – and his talents – are on the wane.
As per AS, the former Lille man could well be set for pastures new this summer, with his current side keen to secure a loan switch for next season – ‘with a view to arranging a permanent deal’ – and are said to have ‘already started looking’ for potential destinations for their expensive flop.
With the Qatar World Cup to come this winter, the hope is that he can rekindle his ‘fitness, form and confidence’ by securing a temporary move in the upcoming transfer window, in order to regain his starting berth in the national side and to also ensure that the LaLiga side can potentially recoup some sort of transfer fee next summer, before his existing contract expires in 2024.
Recent reports have suggested that a Chelsea homecoming could be on the cards for the 5 foot 9 playmaker, with news of a possible loan deal likely to pique the interest of both his former club and its adoring fanbase.
For all the potential fanfare, it would be wise for Marina Granovskaia and co to think again before securing a Hazard homecoming, with the fleet-footed forward simply not the player that he once was.
The diminutive star – who is expected to be ruled out for the remainder of the season through injury – has made just 65 appearances for Los Blancos since securing a move to the Bernabeu in 2019, while he has also registered a measly tally of just 16 goal competitions in that time, as per Transfermarkt.
Once hailed as a “special player” by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp – and compared favourably to both Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry by 1998 World Cup winner Christophe Dugarry – the 116- cap international is seemingly a lost cause, with his stock having suffered a stark decline in recent years.
That drop off is best illustrated by his current dwindling market value, with Hazard now valued at just £14.4m, having previously reached a peak of £135m prior to his move away from England in June 2019, as per Transfermarkt.
That’s an eye-watering decrease of 89% in the space of three years, for a player that is supposed to be in the peak stint of his career.
While it was seemingly good business to scoop an £89m transfer fee for a player who at the time had just a year left on his contract, it would represent poor business to agree to his return, with the injury-prone ace seemingly a different player to the one that departed the club.
That would appear to be the view of Premier League winner Damien Duff, with the Irishman launching a scathing attack on the Belgian last year.
Speaking to RTE (quotes via Pundit Arena), the former Blues winger said:
“You’d worry for him going forward,
“He’s 30, he relies on sharpness, being a quick dribbler. We all know after 30, it’s like that [points downwards, indicating players decline at that age].
“He’s never been a top pro and he’s never had the drive of [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. If he did, you’d probably be mentioning him with them two players.
“He turned up for his first pre-season at Real Madrid, [a] Galactico, 160 million, overweight, fat. Call it what you want”
While a loan deal may be a less risky venture for the ‘Big Six’ side, there is still the small matter of paying – or at least partly covering – his reported £381k-per-week wage, a hefty sum for a player who has only started seven league games this season.
In truth, he has simply been stealing a living in Spain, with it wise for Chelsea avoid making the same mistake this summer.
AND in other news, Agent offers verdict on Declan Rice’s future amid interest from Chelsea…