It all started back in April when Chelsea were humiliated 3-1 by Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie at Stamford Bridge. Eden Hazard came out and claimed that the Blues are suitable only for counter-attacking football, sparking suggestions that he is not completely happy under manager Jose Mourinho.
What has happened since then is well documented. Hazard was publicly criticised by Mourinho for not doing enough defensively, Paris Saint-Germain gave indications that they are keen to sign the Belgium international this summer and the transfer saga started.
But has it just ended with Mourinho categorically denying that he will sell Hazard?
‘Just because I say that Eden does not have everything, it doesn't mean I don't want him’, he told L'Equipe. ‘He has fantastic potential and will express it at Chelsea. For him, as for others, the door is closed. People who know me know that, when I say that, I mean it’.
Hazard himself has insisted that he has no plans to leave PSG, telling La Derniere Heure: ‘I am 100% certain to stay at Chelsea. Everyone knew that really. I am under contract with Chelsea and I want to stay’.
So will this end all reports linking Hazard with an exit from Stamford Bridge this summer? Probably not. Once a rumour has sparked into life, it is very difficult to extinguish it. All Mourinho, Hazard and Chelsea can do over the coming months is continue to deny those reports until the transfer window slams shut.
Hazard was Chelsea’s best player in the 2013-14 season (the stats below illustrate just how brilliant he has been for the London outfit for the past two seasons) and it was always very unlikely that Mourinho would let him go. Of course, the Portuguese manager did not hesitate selling Juan Mata to Manchester United in January, but Hazard is someone different and more special for him.
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At 23, Hazard has still room for improvement, but in his two years in the Premier League, the former Lille star has proved what he is capable of. Perhaps Mourinho is right in claiming that the Belgian needs to add more (defensive) facets to his game, but there is no reason to doubt why Hazard cannot do that.