Hazard: I won’t leave Chelsea in January
Eden Hazard admitted that his mind changes on whether he should or shouldn’t leave Chelsea for Real Madrid on a near daily basis. But at least for today, Hazard plans to stay at Chelsea.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Belgium’s match on Friday against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League, Hazard said “no” when asked whether a transfer to Real Madrid was possible this January. When asked about next summer, Hazard changed the subject back to the upcoming opponent.
[READ: Vertonghen out until December]
Hazard, who has admitted multiple times that it’s his dream to play for Real Madrid but he’s declined to move to Spain in the past and currently has a contract at Chelsea through 2020, leaving the club with plenty of leverage in this situation.
🗣️ @hazardeden10 : "Honestly, I think I have already been in a better shape than I am now. Statistically, this is the best season start I ever had. But on the pitch, I have already been better @LOSC_PT and @ChelseaFC."#REDTOGETHER 🇧🇪#BELSUI #BELNED— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) October 11, 2018
Regardless, Hazard has been on fire to start the season, and he’s credited some tactical adjustments made by new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri for the hot form. Through eight Premier League matches, Hazard has seven goals and three assists, putting him firmly in the lead for the Golden Boot early on.
“I have a slightly more offensive role in Chelsea,” Hazard said. “I find myself closer to the goal. I can score more. I may take my chances, too. Afterwards, when you score, you always have (energy) to score more. I hope this will not stop with the Red Devils. Because for a few years, it’s been going very well too. I hope to continue on my current form to please the fans.
“When you’re in shape, it’s always thanks to the coach. If I’m here today, it’s probably thanks to him. It is surely thanks to others who have gone before. We play in a different system (now) that allows us to perform better. It feels more because I score more. Quite simply. But it’s also thanks to me, I think. Sarri tells me that I am free offensively if I do what he asks me defensively. He has the reputation of playing ball well, having a game focused on the offensive. We have a lot of freedom when we have the ball.”
Priority No. 1 for Chelsea is dealing with the Hazard situation quickly. Best case scenario, tie the 27-year-old winger to the club with a new extension and a raise. Next best case would be selling him to Real Madrid for a large fee, enough to fully invest in replacements in the squad and to fix issues in multiple areas, like at striker. Worst case scenario though would for this to drag out through 2019, when Hazard could leave on a free transfer.