Is Eden Hazard Having A Laugh?
The very public Premier League dalliance that Lille and Belgium's Eden Hazard has embarked upon is threatening to backfire upon the 21 year old midfielder and his agent...
There is no doubt that Hazard is a cracking little player and that the young winger has a potentially stunning career ahead of him, but the 'will I, won't I' manner of his television interviews is beginning to grate at English clubs intent upon securing his services.
City, United, Chelsea and Spurs are all reported to be in the running but at the same time would be justified in beginning to question the alleged money demands that have been touted, not least the way the player is going about his business.
Sources close to two of the negotiating clubs involved have revealed frustration that Hazard's agent Marc Formeaux is after bagging £5 million from any deal. Worse still, the salary requested is £200,000 per week which would bring the youngster level with City's highest earners, established internationals Carlos Tévez and Yaya Touré. Every rag's favourite scouser Wayne Rugney earns one fifth extra and it's doubtful that the newly laden with fresh debt Stretfords will be prepared to countenance a similar salary for a kid who hasn't played at the very highest club level consistently yet.
There appears to be an astonishing lack of realism in the Hazard camp. Last December, Formeaux revealed:
'In France, people are talking about an offer of €30m from City and that he would then be loaned back to Lille for free until June. The player himself has declared that he wants to play for Madrid.'
Hazard turned up at the recent Manchester Derby and courted the hacks again with the soundbite: 'I will be wearing Blue next season.'
Following his brilliant hat-trick display this week in his final game for Lille, he declared to Canal Plus:
'It is possible that Chelsea's arrival at the negotiation table will delay things, as nothing is done. My agent has met with Manchester and with Chelsea. They both give good offers...I don't know. It's not been finalised yet...Chelsea makes you hesitate. They've won the Champions League and they'll be in it next season...For now nothing's been decided but it will be soon. Now I want to join up with the national team and then go on holiday.'
There's a clear and present risk of pricing himself out of the market. Despite what some hacks might tell you, following the initial raft of signings Mark Hughes made at City and the chastening public experience The Blues suffered at the hands of Silvio Berlusconi over Kaka, the club have taken a hard line in transfer dealings.
The Blues have washed their hands of numerous player's demands in recent years. Just ask Samuel Eto'o.
It's already being reported today that City are getting cold feet. Looking at The Blues' situation over Hazard in isolation, how can a young player no matter how good he is expect to walk straight into a championship winning side and out-earn the trophy winning likes of Silva, Aguero, Kompany and Balotelli?
Certainly, Chelsea and the rags, both in need of freshening up ageing squads could well be asking themselves the same question.
all times East Manchester
Fri 27 July Arsenal, Birds Nest Stadium, Beijing, Friendly
Su 12 August, Chelsea, Villa Park, Community Shield
Sa 18 August, To Be Confirmed, PL
- The 2012/13 Premier League season will kick off on Saturday the 18th August 2012. Fixtures will be announced around the middle of June, with the first set of television picks selected approximately 2-3 weeks later.