On Thursday, Belgium international Eden Hazard put pen to paper in signing a new five-and-a-half-year deal with Premier League leaders Chelsea. The 24-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge from Lille in June 2012 and has since made a total of 147 appearances for the Blues, scoring 43 goals.
"I am very happy that Eden has signed a new contract," Mourinho said, as quoted by ESPN. "It shows he believes in the club's coaching staff and players to help him become the best player in the world." He continued, "he is already a top player and his evolution has been fantastic. He is still very young and he can become the best."
When it comes to choosing the Premier League's very best midfielder, it is becoming increasingly difficult to argue against Eden Hazard's case. Recognised as last season's PFA Young Player of the Year, this term he looks a firm favourite for the division's senior award. The statistics from his campaign thus far are absolutely astonishing.
The Belgian has not only created the most chances (67), completed the most dribbles (112) and won the most free kicks (74), but he also lays claim to the most final third passes this term (714). Meanwhile, he has successfully won possession in the attacking zone 26 times; again, more than any other player.
Hazard has directly contributed to an impressive 14 goals this term - nine goals and five assists. Only six English top flight players have can boast a superior level of involvement, with Chelsea teammate Cesc Fabregas being the only out-right midfielder ahead of the man in question.
|Sergio Agüero||Diego Costa||Alexis Sánchez||Cesc Fàbregas||Harry Kane||Charlie Austin||Eden Hazard|
|Goals + Goal Assist||20||19||19||17||16||15||14|
In terms of his overall attacking influence on each game, very few compare to the mercurial Belgian and, in fact, based on WhoScored.com's player ratings system, he is currently the Premier League's top performer (7.99), ahead of Alexis Sanchez (7.86), Cesc Fabregas (7.83) and Diego Costa (7.71).
|Average Stats per Appearance||Team||Total Passes||Pass Accuracy (%)||Dribbles||Dribble Success (%)||Fouled||Shots||Chances Created||Final 3rd Passes||Apps|
He may be three goals behind his closest competitor, Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, and two assists worse off, but the statistics provide concrete evidence as to his tremendous contribution in the final third - this far outweighs that of the Chilean, when all factors are considered.
It's a close call between the duo, but considering the fact Sanchez has the advantage of regularly featuring in a much more advanced attacking position, it's fair to conclude that Hazard is rapidly emerging as the Premier League's most effective play-maker.