Eden Hazard joined Chelsea ten years ago today, although he was almost signed by Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur before deciding to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Eden Hazard was bought by Chelsea from Lille 10 years ago today, and the Belgian went on to become one of the best Premier League talents at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea reinvested some of their Champions League riches in Hazard, who cost the Blues £32 million.
Hazard was beginning to make an impression at Lille, where he had impressed since joining the club’s development system at the age of 16.
Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp famously saw Hazard in a hotel room when trying to transfer the Belgian to White Hart Lane, while Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was anxious to sign him the same summer.
Hazard, on the other hand, selected Chelsea, and here, we look back on the transfer battle and the reasons why United and Tottenham were passed over.
Take a moment to remember the summer of 2012. Chelsea had just won their first ever Champions League trophy in spectacular fashion against Bayern Munich, while Manchester City owe their Premier League championship to Sergio Aguero’s last-minute winner.
Euro 2012 was ready to begin in Poland and Ukraine, despite Belgium’s failure to qualify for the tournament for the third time in a row.
We had no idea that Belgium would go on to become the world’s best team, with a golden generation that included Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku, to mention a few.
Hazard was still a relatively unknown quantity at the time, but he had piqued the interest of Premier League clubs.
When Ferguson was ready to make Hazard his long-term winger when United contacted him, but it was Chelsea’s Champions League victory that persuaded Hazard to transfer to Stamford Bridge.
“I told myself when they won the Champions League, ‘Why not Chelsea?'” Hazard remarked after signing in 2012.
“In a battle, Chelsea and Manchester United were in, but Chelsea, in my opinion, has the greatest project. It’s a fantastic club.”
Hazard turned down United for a sum of £32 million because he believed he would be given more opportunities at Chelsea.
Hazard remarked, “The [Chelsea] team is young, and I have a greater opportunity to play there. If I do well enough at Chelsea, I might earn a starting spot.”
And he did win his spot, quickly rising to become their most significant player, and he has been one of their most prominent players for the past decade.
Furthermore, his assessment of the United squad as elderly was dead on, since despite winning the title that season, they continued to disintegrate.
Hazards went on to win two Premier League championships with Chelsea, as well as being named Premier League Player of the Year in 2014/15. He was also named Chelsea’s player of the season four times.
But it wasn’t just United who were interested in Hazard; former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said that they were on the verge of signing him until Chelsea intervened.
“I lost Eden Hazard; he wanted to come to Tottenham but stated he would only come if we could play Champions League football.” Redknapp claimed.
“That year, we finished fourth, Chelsea sixth; they won the Champions League, and we didn’t.”
Hazard has finally won the Champions League with Real Madrid, ten years after departing to participate in the competition. Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 1-0 in the final this season.
Hazard’s transfer to Madrid has been a nightmare, but despite reports that he may leave, he is keen to make things work.
Hazard remarked in a press conference while on international service, “Everything is in order. To be ready for next year, I’ll have a solid physical and mental preparation.
It’s up to me to prove that I’m not done, that there’s more magnificent work to be done.
I’m confident that if I come back to my best, I’ll be able to offer them everything.
All I need to do now is play and get some minutes, which I want to do next year. Then we’ll see the genuine player, the real Eden Hazard, no doubt.”