So Eden Hazard has finally made his decision and it's one I was expecting all day since the bookies drastically dropped their price on him joining the Champions League winners. I had been under the impression he would go to Man Utd having stated his future was in Manchester before seeing this shift in where the money was going.
I never really saw him going to the Premier League Champions to play his football at the Etihad. It's very clear from his actions over the past couple of weeks that he loves being the centre of attention and I don't feel he could do that at City. Look at Balotelli and Tevez. They seem to have the same attitude as Hazard, one that the world and their football club revolves around them and them alone. Tevez seemed to come back with a new attitude since the infamous Munich refusal, same player and work-rate on the pitch which I can't see changing his whole career, but he has realised he should play for the team rather than play when he wants and try to force Mancini's hand. The way Mancini controlled the whole issue was excellent and in the end he got the best out of Tevez and won the league. I don't think Mancini really ever wanted Hazard, no doubt a class player but would he fully buy into Mancini's principles and the 'no star policy' they seem to have now. Aguero, Silva, Kompany and Yaya Toure are clearly the 4 best players in the City team but none of them have a ego. Listen to any post match interview with Kompany or Toure and they praise the rest of the team and focus on one game at a time, every game is just as important as the last and as the next. There is no doubt Mancini will have spoken in depth to Kompany about Hazard if he really wanted him there is no reason why City wouldn't have got him. They would have offered him the highest wage and probably bid more for him than either Chelsea or Utd. Their style of football would have suited him but a lot of what City does goes through David Silva, Yaya Toure and Ageuro so is there enough to go around? They bought Nasri last summer and even though he was hardly extraordinary in a City shirt he was part of their first choice front 4 and is a clever player who hardly ever loses the ball, his pass completion rate was 91.1% and a return of 5 goals and 9 assists is fairly good. I see City adding depth to the squad which majorly struggled in Europe last year rather than making drastic changes to their starting 11.
This brings me round to Utd. A team criticised last year for being over-reliant on the old faces in their squad as seen by bringing Scholes back. Even with this and the constant praise for the football City played Utd did finish level on points with their rivals but there is still no doubt they need to sign younger players and some more big name talents to work alongside Rooney. I always wonder how many of the Utd first choice 11 would get in the City team, I can only see Vidic and Rooney being options Mancini would take and Mancini may even think twice about Vidic with his injury problems and the partnership that Kompany and Lescott developed. Do Utd have any 'exciting' players anymore or real gamechangers? There is no doubt Hazard falls into this category, 20 goals 16 assists and 14 man of the match performances in Ligue 1 last season is reason enough to believe he is worth the hype. So Utd need someone young, check, someone with an eye for goal, check, someone who can work well with Rooney, check, someone who is an exciting talent, check....yet they fail to get their man. Why? Are Man Utd no longer an attractive enough option for a player who can choose where he will go? This may seem strong as they still remain the most valuable sports team in the world according to Forbes back in December and there is no denying they are one of the top three most followed teams in the world. So why did Nasri opt for City last season, Hazard opt for Chelsea this year and Rooney apparently ask for a transfer request in 2010? Ferguson will know when it's time to call it a day but I feel he needs to sign at least 3 top players this summer to keep up with City and bring some more excitement to Old Trafford.
Now for the team Hazard decided to join, Chelsea. The team that won the Champions league playing reactive football, allowing their opposition to constantly have the ball and then simply going long to Drogba or exploiting the pace and fitness of Ramires. I don't quite understand how a player like Hazard who likes having the ball to feet, creating chances and being able to express himself would make this decision having seen this style of football. I feel he either must not care (which seems highly unlikely) or has been assured Chelsea will be bringing in a manager who will play a better passing game. If it was solely money orientated everyone would have expected him to go to Man City. There still remain great talents at Chelsea with the likes of Torres, Sturridge, Mata and Lampard still has years at the top level of the game. The system and style they played in the Champions League didn't suit Mata but he found himself get into spaces really well and helped keep possession of the ball when Chelsea did have it. He will remain a clever threat but he isn't a goalscorer like Hazard is. The two of them plus Torres will likely be the Chelsea front 3 next season and is a sign in the right direction for them signing young talents. A lot of managers will surely be attracted to the prospect of coaching such a talent and leading Chelsea in their next stage, hopefully one playing better football and giving youth a chance. Do Chelsea fans still remember Lukaku? Their £18million signing last summer. The best young Belgian talent. It looks like Hazard is now that man but I expect him to have a better first season at Chelsea than Lukaku did.
Of course there is still no OFFICIAL word from Lille or Chelsea that this is a 100% done deal but Hazard tweeted he would be "signing for the Champions League winners". Maybe he feels he is good enough to change the way Chelsea play. So that's now 1100 words on a player I have never seen live, I haven't even seen a full game he has played in but I will be paying full attention to him in Saturday's friendly game against England when he lines up for Belgium, a team with a very bright future ahead of them. His performance away at CSKA Moscow was the most I have seen of him in a live game but in that game he was excellent. He was on the ball a lot and his pass to set up Joe Cole who hit the post before Sow finished it off is exceptional.