Paul Merson has tipped Chelsea forward Eden Hazard to be named the 2016-17 PFA player of the year.
The Blues forward has rediscovered his best form under new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte after the Italian was confirmed as Guus Hiddink’s permanent replacement earlier this year.
Hazard has scored seven times and has made one assist in 11 Premier League appearances in the 2016-17 season so far to easily eclipse last term’s measly total for four goals.
The Chelsea forward has scored against Leicester City, Manchester United, Southampton and Everton in the west London side’s last four Premier League fixtures.
The Belgian was named the 2014-15 PFA player of the year after his 14 goals helped to fire Jose Mourinho’s Blues side to the Premier League title that season.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson believes Hazard is a shoe-in to scoop the accolade for a second time in the current campaign given his brilliant performances so far.
“Eden Hazard will end up as Footballer of the Year again if he carries on playing like this, and Chelsea will probably win the league,” Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.
“This is exactly what happened when Chelsea won it last time. It was all Hazard. He was flying, and his team-mates followed him.
“When he didn’t turn up last season they finished mid-table. For me he’s one of the best players in the world.
“But last year I think a lot was going on behind the scenes. He didn’t really seem to be trying that hard. You’d think he was a different player now.”
Chelsea are in second place in the Premier League table and a point behind leaders ahead of their trip to Middlesbrough in their next top-flight fixture on Sunday 20 November.