Monday, May 21, 2012

Hazard signs off with hat-trick… and striker hints at move to Chelsea over United and City

Eden Hazard signed off for Lille by scoring a hat-trick on Sunday night - and then hinted he could be tempted by a move to Champions League winners Chelsea.
Hazard is wanted by the Blues, Manchester United and Premier League champions Manchester City, but despite admitting his agent has held talks with a number of clubs, he did not say which one he would move to.
The Belgian star was expected to choose between City and United, but Chelsea have made a late bid to sign the playmaker.

After his final game on Sunday night in which Lille beat Nancy 4-1, Hazard said about a possible move to Chelsea: 'That’s possible. But until I put pen to paper I won’t say where I’m going.
'Of course it makes you think as Chelsea have won the Champions League.
'They're a big team and will be playing in the Champions League next season.’
He added: 'They have great players and I always said I wanted to be playing. I think there is the possibility to play as well.'
And in a post-match interview, he told Canal+: 'My agent has met with Manchester, and with Chelsea, they give good offers, and are great clubs.
'I don't know. It's not been finalised yet.'
Hazard's agent was in London on Saturday according to reliable sources in France.

Chelsea expect a £30million fee for Lille's 21-year-old attacking midfielder and the offer of a five-year deal will be successful.
Chelsea's offer is one that even City's Premier League title winning Roberto Mancini and his Abu Dhabi paymasters are reluctant to match as they try to reduce their losses to comply with UEFA's financial fair play regulations.
City are also in the hunt for Arsenal striker Robin van Persie and need to get stars like Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Emmanuel Adebayor off the wage bill before they can break the bank again.

City cite Hazard's wage demands and high agent's fees as the stumbling block to a deal.
They were seen as favourites to land Hazard, to the point of inviting him to the crucial derby match against United at the Etihad and taking him on a tour of homes in the more fashionable areas of Cheshire.
But negotiations floundered as City lost patience with Hazard's representatives over their refusal to budge from his sky-high wage demands and an incredible £6m fee for organising the move from the French First Division club.

Lille managing director Frederic Paquet said: 'I'm not sure he himself knows exactly where he will go, so for the moment we don't know.'
United fans will be worried, however, if they miss out on Hazard, given that their midfield needs strengthening after losing their Premier League crown to neighbours City. Figures released last week showed United's debt stands at £423m, while their cash reserves have dropped to £25m with overall income also falling by six per cent.
It means Sir Alex Ferguson will find it hard to compete at the top end of the transfer market, which he has blamed clubs like City for making 'insane'.
The United boss has pledged to rebuild the team by developing younger players rather than buying star names.

Sir Alex, who must replace veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs in midfield, has been linked with £7m Borussia Dortmund and Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa and another Belgian star, Mousa Dembele, of Fulham, who is refusing to commit to a new contract at Craven Cottage.
Tottenham were among the suitors for Hazard in the January transfer window but the fee and wages required have rocketed well beyond their scope.
Hazard has expressed a desire to switch to the Premier League, indicating last week he would announce his decision tomorrow about which of the two Manchester clubs he would join.
But clearly there would have to be a significant scaling down of his representative's demands before any such deal could go through and Chelsea's late move may swing the deal Abramovich's way.

Lille gave Hazard a memorable send-off in their final home game of the season against Nancy.
The 2011 French champions are already resigned to their star player leaving.
'We are going to celebrate him,' Lille coach Rudi Garcia told the club's website before the game against mid-table Nancy.
'I am proud to have taken my part in his progress. I often said he would be one of the European greatest.
'He's an exceptional player who made history at the club.'
Hazard helped Lille to secure their qualification for next season's Champions League play-off and was named the best Ligue 1 player for the second year in a row.
Another Lille ace who played his final game in France is Joe Cole, who ended his season-long loan spell in the best possible style as he played a key role in the win over Nancy.
The England midfielder showed the benefits of a  prolonged spell of football with some exquisite touches and intelligent link play as Lille — who are guaranteed a place in next season’s Champions League after finishing third in Ligue 1 — breezed to victory.

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