Chelsea dodged a major bullet when Zinedine Zidane resigned from Real Madrid, greatly increasing Eden Hazard’s chances of staying at Stamford Bridge.
Rumours of Zidane taking over at Manchester United put the Blues in more danger than ever of losing Hazard.
Chelsea spent most of the summer transfer window trapped in the clutches of despair.
Yet they somehow managed to sign Jorginho, Kovacic and Kepa Arrizabalaga; ridded themselves of Thibaut Courtois, who finally slithered away to Madrid; and held on to Eden Hazard.
That final accomplishment almost didn’t happen, as Chelsea neglected their most valuable player amidst all the hoopla surrounding Courtois and Willian.
Eden Hazard was looking on from the sidelines as Willian’s transfer saga moved from EmojiGate to his open admiration for one Jose Mourinho to multiple bids from Barcelona to a possible swap with Manchester United.
Eden Hazard had dropped a hint he might be looking for a change this summer. That plan was put into disarray when Zinedine Zidane left Real Madrid.
Zidane is Hazard’s idol, and his presence at Madrid held the biggest allure for Hazard to pursue a move to Los Blancos.
But it wasn’t the only thing that would attract an elite footballer to Real Madrid, was it? Thankfully for Chelsea, Hazard did not force a move unlike his goalkeeping compatriot.
But according to fresh rumors, Chelsea might have a lot of thinking to do in the very near future. Jose Mourinho has been busy losing friends and alienating people in Manchester for quite some time now. And after defecating on one porch too many, his time may be about to come to an abrupt end.
When (not if) Mourinho leaves, Manchester United’s first preference to take his place is – hold on to your hats – Zinedine Zidane.
This hits Chelsea in several ways. For starters, Eden Hazard has not signed a contract extension yet. His current contract runs out in 2020 and he could very well do a Courtois by stalling on signing a new one until the end of the season.
If this happens and United do appoint Zidane, it opens up a Pandora’s Box of problems for Chelsea.
Hazard could see Zidane’s arrival in Manchester as his last real opportunity to play under the management of his idol.
He wouldn’t even need to leave England, where his family is well-settled. He could follow Mourinho’s example by living in the Lowry Hotel in Manchester while his kids continue their education in London.
On a professional level, Zidane’s record in the Champions League is freakishly good and the Champions League is the only major trophy that still eludes Eden Hazard.
No one should be surprised if Zidane wins it for United at the first time of asking.
That only makes the move all the more attractive for Hazard. In fact, it all makes so much sense for Eden Hazard, it’s scary to imagine what Chelsea would do if it does actually happen.
But could it happen? Only a brave (or foolish) man would bet against it if Hazard does not sign an extension.
Despite Chelsea’s supposed refusal to countenance Willian’s move to United, one would suspect it was United’s refusal to allow Anthony Martial to be a part of that deal which made it fall through.
By the start of next season, Hazard will be 28 years and a little more than six months old. Chelsea could bring in their crack team of analysts who would conclude that it’s all downhill from here for Hazard.
And the club’s baffling policy of selling older, proven players to bring in younger, hungrier ones could make them more open to a sale.
Could Martial be a part of a swap deal? No reason why not. Someone at the club certainly loves him, and this could be their chance to get their hands on a younger player and a bucket-load of cash for someone who only has a year to go on his contract. It’s just good business, after all.
Hopefully someone at Chelsea has a contingency plan in place, so they are not made to look like fools yet again. Of course, all of this becomes moot if Hazard signs an extension.
Then we can finally sit back and relax, while Jose Mourinho burns Old Trafford to the ground.