Hazard confirms Blues stay
Belgium forward has repeatedly been linked with a move away from Bridge
Eden Hazard has confirmed he will not leave Chelsea this month, describing rumours surrounding his future as “stupidity”.
Hazard has been heavily linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge for some time, and particularly so after strongly hinting last month, following Belgium’s involvement at the World Cup, that his time in west London had come to an end.
“After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different,” said the forward. “I can decide if I want to stay or go.”
That comment appeared to be the precursor to a transfer to Real Madrid, who are searching for a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo and can still players up until August 31st when the La Liga transfer window closes. But speaking after Chelsea’s 3-2 victory over Arsenal on Saturday, Hazard insisted he is not going anywhere for the time being at least.
“Everybody knows what I have said after the World Cup. But I’m happy here,” the 27-year-old told RMC Sport.
“A lot has been said. A lot of stupidity too. But at the moment I’m happy. I have two years left on my contract and we’ll see what happens. Leaving this year? I won’t go. The transfer market in England is closed. Clubs can still sell players, but not sign new ones anymore. It would be a bit strange that they would sell me now while they can’t sign a replacement.”
Hazard’s show of commitment will come as a relief to Chelsea’s supporters and provide a boost to manager Maurizio Sarri, who had said prior to the match against Arsenal that he expected the Belgium to remain at Chelsea before going on to describe him as “one of the best [PLAYERS]in Europe at the moment.”
Hazard certainly showed his qualities on Saturday, tormenting Arsenal with his movement and dribbling abilities after coming on as a second-half substitute, seen most decisively with the assist that led to Marcos Alonso’s winning goal 10 minutes from full-time.
Hazard’s current deal at Chelsea, who he joined from Lille in 2012, expires on June 30th 2020 and the club have been trying for some time to secure him to new terms worth around £300,000 a week.
The player has so far resisted that and despite his fresh show of commitment, rumours surrounding his departure will no doubt grow should he still not have signed a new contract when the European transfer window reopens in January.
“I’m good where I am now,” added Hazard. “Let’s see what happens in one or two years.”
Meanwhile, Hazard’s much-maligned teammate Alvaro Morata has defied expectations by starting all three of Sarri’s games in charge and got his first goal of the season during Saturday’s thrilling victory.
It was a fine finish, too, with the 25-year-old showing clever movement, good strength and calmness under pressure to give the hosts a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Afterwards Morata insisted he had never contemplated leaving Chelsea in the summer and believes that, if anything, the change of manager will help him establish himself as the main man at Stamford Bridge.
“I could have gone back to Spain or Italy, but I want to change things here,” he said. “I want to, not for all the haters, but for Chelsea. Chelsea gave me everything I needed.
“The most important things is the way we play. Last season it was direct balls and for me to protect the ball in the air is not my best quality. Now I can attack the space, I can play one touch and go in the area for the crosses. It’s better for me.”
Morata is enthused by the success Sarri had with the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne at Napoli and feels confident that under the 59-year-old’s guidance, he too can become a consistently potent centre-forward. “He [SARRI]works with the ball always and when you always have the ball the strikers have more chances,” Morata said. “I want to score more than 30 goals, but I would prefer to score 15 or 20 and get the Premier League.”
‘‘ A lot has been said. A lot of stupidity too. But at the moment I’m happy
Lay down roots
Morata also seems keen to lay down roots having regularly been on the move during a career that has also taken in a spell at Juventus. He spoke of “looking forward to buying a house” and how he can’t wait for his “babies to grow up and to put them in school.” That kind of talk hardly helps Morata shed his ‘polite guy’ image but, equally, it reflects a level of determination on the part of the Spain forward. He is here to stay and we had all better get used to it.
Morata will hope to start again when Chelsea travel to Newcastle United on Saturday in search of a third successive league win.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has ruled out a move to Real Madrid in the immediate future.