Eden Hazard has suggested that he will be staying at Chelsea next season, despite the Belgian star being heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
Hazard has had a season to forget so far and only managed to get his first goal of the current Premier League campaign on Saturday against Bournemouth. Showing signs that he is finally getting back to his best, he scored a second goal in the match, ending a year-long drought with a brace.
“I’m happy and I hope for the future I will be back,” Hazard said to Chelsea TV. “After two defeats we had to win again. We now have four games to play and to enjoy.”
However, his good performance in the 4-1 win over Bournemouth is not the only thing that will please the Blues’ fans. After the match, Hazard went on to praise the supporters and also hinted that he might end up staying at Chelsea next season.
“From the start [the Chelsea fans were behind me],” he said. “Last season, they were fantastic; this season has been difficult for me, but they are always behind me, [which is] good. I appreciate that. We have a lot of stories to write together and we are ready for the future.
“We try to forget this season now; we’re focused on the new season. Some players didn’t play much this season but they are ready. I was injured and I’m ready for the future. Everybody is on the same wave. This is good. This is important. We are together and we are strong when we are together.”
How will Hazard fit into Conte’s plans?
Antonio Conte, who is set to take over at Chelsea next season as the manager, is known to be a hard taskmaster who prefers hardworking players to the skilful types. The Italy national team manager is known to prefer the 3-4-3, 3-5-2, or the 4-2-4 formation — all of which require players capable of putting in a defensive shift. There has been a lot of speculation that Conte will do away with many of the Blues’ creative stars.
However, considering the quality that Hazard has, the Italian may just consider keeping the Belgian in his team. Hazard can always operate as a left midfielder in both the 3-4-3 and the 3-5-2 formations, while he could be very effective as a left forward in the 4-2-4 formation. Alternatively, Conte could even use him in a free role as a second striker in his 3-5-2 setup.