Chelsea have been offered a chance to bring back former superstar Eden Hazard from Real Madrid this summer. Should the Blues go for it?
It has only been two years since Eden Hazard sealed his dream move to Real Madrid from Chelsea. However, it is safe to say that the move has failed to pan out as the Belgian or the Merengues would have hoped for.
Indeed, Hazard has looked a shadow of the superstar that he was at Chelsea, often struggling for form and fitness, leading to him being in and out of the side more often than not. With Carlo Ancelotti ushering in a new era at the Santiago Bernabeu and having identified players like Richarlison to bolster the attacking unit, the club may have to axe some of their current stars this summer.
And Hazard, it seems, could be on the chopping blocks, with the player himself keen on putting an end to his miserable time in Spain. And, as per reports, Chelsea have been offered a chance to re-sign the 30-year-old Belgian this summer in a deal worth €60 million.
Hazard remains a popular figure at Chelsea, within the club and among the fans. So, a chance to bring back their former icon is something that is certain to be of appeal. But whether such a move would be of benefit to the club? The Hard Tackle assesses.
Eden Hazard at Chelsea
Hazard signed for Chelsea in the summer of 2012 from Ligue 1 outfit LOSC Lille, snubbing interest from several other top clubs across Europe and quickly established himself as a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge. Having helped the Blues to the UEFA Europa League triumph in his very first year in London, the Belgian wing-wizard continued to scale greater heights with each passing season.
In a short time, Hazard established himself as one of the best players in the Premier League as well as Europe, dazzling fans with his brilliant wing-play. Titles and tribulations followed as well, as he won the Premier League and the League Cup under Jose Mourinho, another Premier League title and the FA Cup when playing under Antonio Conte, before lifting the UEFA Europa League with Maurizio Sarri.
An icon and a future club legend, Hazard amassed 352 appearances for Chelsea in seven seasons, producing a stunning tally of 110 goals and 92 assists in the process, before departing for Real Madrid in the summer of 2019, in a deal worth an eye-watering €100 million.
Hazard’s struggles in Spain
A bonafide superstar when he completed the move to Spain, there were signs of problems as early as his unveiling as a Real Madrid player when Hazard showed up overweight and lacking any fitness. It has pretty much gone downhill since for the 30-year-old, who has constantly been bogged down by injuries, limiting his game-time to a major extent.
In two years at the club, Hazard has managed just 43 appearances. To put things into perspective, the Belgian has missed a whopping 59 matches due to injury and fitness problems so far for Los Blancos. When he has featured, the 30-year-old has looked a pale shadow of his former self, managing a paltry return of five goals and eight assists.
Comeback to the Bridge – A risk worth taking for Chelsea?
Chelsea are on the rise under the management of Thomas Tuchel. The Blues lifted the UEFA Champions League last season – beating Hazard’s Real Madrid along the way in the semi-finals. Given that the team is taking giant strides forward, led by a top-class head coach and a squad laden with superlative talents, would Hazard have a place in the new Chelsea?
First off, Hazard has shown a sharp decline over the past two years in Madrid. Injuries have affected his career, with the player looking well below the level that the fans have been used to seeing him perform. While it would be foolish to write off a player of his class, at the same time, the current situation cannot be overlooked either.
The tactical aspect would also pose an issue, considering that Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 system does not use natural wingers in the side. However, that should not pose a major problem considering Hazard is used to playing as one of the two attacking midfielders in a similar system with the Belgian national team under Roberto Martinez.
However, coming back to his fitness, Hazard, as iterated earlier, has missed more games than he has played at Real Madrid. So, there will be question marks regarding how he would fit into this Chelsea time of which the manager demands extreme work-rate from the top. Not to forget that the Blues already have a plethora of attacking talent at their disposal, competing for places.
Indeed, Tuchel can call upon Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi for the two attacking midfield slots, while youngsters like Tino Anjorin, Conor Gallagher could also stake a claim if they are not sent out on loan this season. So, even though Werner’s future is in doubt, the Blues would still have enough options for the two attacking midfield slots in the lineup.
So, bringing back Hazard for the aforementioned €60 million price, and paying his £416,000-a-week wages, at a time when Chelsea need the funds to bolster their centre-forward department might not be the most prudent move. The Belgian remains a loved figure at Stamford Bridge, and his return for another stint at the club has an air of romanticism. However, given his age, fitness and form issues, it would be a huge gamble that Chelsea are better off not taking.