The worst kept transfer secret in world football will happen this summer, as Eden Hazard finally leaves Chelsea to join Real Madrid, and good on him.
It is fair to say that the Belgian international has had no intention of signing a new Chelsea contract for some time and is desperate to make the move to the Bernabeu while he still can. Although Chelsea will not want to lose one of the best player’s in the world, they could have handled the whole saga with far more dignity, professionalism, and respect for a player that has done so much for them over the past eight years.
The club has tried to play hardball with Real Madrid by threatening to hold the Belgian to the final year of his deal. Hazard’s contract at Stamford Bridge runs out in 2020; but by threatening to hold on to him until then, Chelsea have simply backed themselves into a corner.
Hazard has no plans to extend his contract at the Blues, which is likely to force them to accept an offer from Real, regardless of whether it meets their £100 million asking price or not. By not accepting an offer, Chelsea risk losing him on a free transfer, potentially even to an English rival.
The Blues have always insisted they would never consider a bid from Manchester City or any other English club for Hazard, but they will lose control of his future if they do not let him leave at the end of this season.
The Belgian wants to negotiate an amicable exit and is desperate to move to the Bernabeu this summer, but if Chelsea try to hold him against his will, then that will only open the door to other clubs being able to sign him in 2020.
That is not a scenario Chelsea can risk, so why don’t they see sense, and thank Hazard for his contribution to the club by allowing him to move to Madrid in good-natured circumstances.
Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012 and has been a constant star at Stamford Bridge ever since. He has won five trophies at the club; two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, one League Cup and a Europa League.
But he has made no secret of his admiration for Real Madrid, admitting that they are a club he has always desired to join. He has described them as the best club in the world, and revealed it has been a dream since he was a kid to play for them. Why would Chelsea stand in the way of his dream and not just appreciate the person he is.
Real Madrid have added fuel to the fire by leaking what kind of offer they would be willing to offer Hazard, a deal the London club would struggle to match.
When he joins Los Blancos, he is set to earn an incredible £350,000-a-week over a six-year deal, which will eventually be worth around £110 million.
Chelsea need to show some class and let him go on good terms.