Could Eden Hazard return to Chelsea this summer?

Varun Pai
By Varun Pai
8 Min Read

€100 million transfer to Real Madrid from Chelsea, 5 goals in 2 years, and countless injuries later– Is it time for Eden Hazard to leave Real Madrid and come back to Stamford Bridge?

While Eden Hazard brushed away rumours of him returning to England a couple of months, things have changed since then, and it might not be down to him at the end of the day. Real Madrid would be pleased if Hazard wants to perform better after failing to do so in the last 2 years, but financial constraints might force the Los Blancos to orchestrate a move for the 30-year-old. 

Real Madrid’s foray and the continued push for a European Super League is a desperate attempt to cover up the pandemic losses, not to mention the increasing interest on the loans they have secured to finance the renovation of their stadium. Moreover, they also want to sign Kylian Mbappe next summer, which is not going to come cheap. Thus, Madrid will be open to selling players, especially those that have not come good for them so far. 

According to Spanish outlet AS, Real Madrid considers €20 million of their €100 million investment to have been amortized in their annual accounts each summer. Thus, the club would need to sell Hazard for at least €60 million (£51 million) this summer to balance their books and avoid further losses.

 So, would this be a good move for Chelsea?

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It would be deja-vu for Chelsea fans if Hazard signs for the club after their Champions League victory as the Belgian’s first move to Chelsea in 2012 was also on the back of Chelsea’s 1st Champions League trophy. 

Coincidences apart, this could be a smart signing by Chelsea, but at the right price. Thomas Tuchel, who currently has an excellent setup at Chelsea wants to sign an out-and-out forward, courtesy of which they have repeatedly targeted Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland. However, the Blues do not feel they need to make such an outlandish bid for the Norwegian, especially when they could sign him for £70 million next summer, albeit with a lot more suitors vying for the striker’s signature. 

In such a situation, if Chelsea could get Eden Hazard through the door for less than £50 million, it would be a clever signing. Although Hazard has suffered with injuries in Spain, that was not the case in London while Chelsea could also use the player a little more sparingly than they used to back in the day. 

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The Belgian could also solve a number of problems for Chelsea. In his final season at the club, Hazard was involved in 31 Premier League goals, a number no Blues player reached even close to since the Belgian’s departure. It is also important to understand that most of those goals came because Hazard was given a free role and his ability to float across all areas of the pitch was a blessing for the club. 

Moreover, Hazard has still not lost his astute dribbling ability, with the Belgian still averaging 3 dribbles per 90 minutes. He still enters the final third more than most players at Real Madrid, while his shot-creating actions per 90 minutes are similar to Mohamed Salah’s at Liverpool (3.3). Something that has decreased in his time at Madrid is the number of shots he takes, but a lot of this is down to the fact that Hazard was not the best player at the club while there was also a centre-forward in Karim Benzema to create the chances into goals. 

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At Chelsea, however, Eden Hazard could function as a false nine. The Belgian’s hold-up play and ability to bring other players into the game is brilliant while his creative numbers soar in that position. In the 2018/19 season, Maurizio Sarri designed a system that would let Hazard play off the striker (Oliver Giroud/Alvaro Morata/ Gonzalo Higuaín) or act as the false nine, alongside Pedro and Willian. Thomas Tuchel could design a similar system with Kai Havertz and Mason Mount, but with a certain twist. 

Kai Havertz, who prefers to play in a false nine himself, could benefit from Eden Hazard’s move to Stamford Bridge. Both Hazard and Havertz have the versatility to play in the center as well as out wide, while both players also like to play as inside forwards.

 However, Hazard’s low center gravity coupled with Havertz’s 6’3 stature would make them a perfect strike partnership. While Hazard can seamlessly dribble past opponents, Havertz could make the forward runs to supplement Hazard. Mason Mount, on the other hand, can cover up some of the defensive work while also provide the necessary creativity required in the team. 

While all this seems far-fetched, it is an extremely viable option and one that could certainly work if Tuchel wants it to. Additionally, Hazard’s leadership qualities are a bonus, while his experience of winning multiple Premier Leagues will come in handy over the season.

Would Chelsea pay €60 million for Eden Hazard?

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The financial part of this deal will be tough because Real Madrid understands that nobody in world football will pay such a high fee to secure a player who has played less than 50 games in the last 2 seasons. However, if Madrid do budge down to a €40 million fee, Chelsea could negotiate a deal because they desperately need a player who can solve their centre-forward problems. Alternatively, Chelsea could negotiate a swap deal by sending Timo Werner the other way after reports emerged that the German would be open to leaving the club after only one season.

The most sensible option, however, is if Chelsea can sign Hazard on a year-long loan deal. This would put Hazard off Madrid’s wage structure for a year, while Chelsea would also get a great player in return before they can go out and sign Erling Haaland next season. 

There are several complications in a deal for Eden Hazard, but if Real Madrid want to avoid financial problems, this could be a way out, and Chelsea would gladly welcome back the Belgian legend to Stamford Bridge.

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