Eden Hazard has been turning heads across the European continent. The 21-year-old Belgian winger has been very impressive in his time at Lille, netting 20 and assisting in 16 over the past season-and-a-half. Hazard is quick on and off the ball and is a constant threat to the defense.
Nine hundred miles south, Real Madrid is controlling La Liga with a three-point lead over their rivals, Barcelona. They've looked nearly flawless, only faltering against their rivals.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria, and Mesut Ozil form one of the most fearsome attacks in all of soccer. In midfield, one of Europe's best passers Xabi Alonso, is distributor partnered with Sami Khedira, Lassana Diarra, or the summer bargain Nuri Sahin.
What's to change in this offense?
That's the question manager Jose Mourinho is asking. He has stated in several interviews that he has no intention of buying or selling any players this January.
Who can blame him?
Real Madrid is playing very well right now. Florentino Perez must have been all for following Mourinho—until recently, that is.
Eden Hazard approached Lille's directors and instructed them to only listen to offers from the Spanish giants. He wants to play in Madrid, and nowhere else.
How will Madrid react?
I can only imagine that after such a strong verbal commitment from the Belgian, Perez is talking to his advisers. He doesn't have a reputation for being frugal in the transfer window by any means, so buying the young winger wouldn't be a problem for him.
The price tag, probably somewhere around €35 million, won't worry Perez either with Madrid essentially having a limitless budget.
But it's no surprise that Madrid can buy Hazard, or even if he wants to play for Los Blancos. There are surely thousands of players who dream of playing for Madrid, and no player is too expensive for them.
So what makes Eden different? What can he contribute to the Spanish capital?
For starters, Hazard is young and will develop well with this young Madrid team (the average age is 23.8). He could learn well from the quickly maturing players, Benzema, Higuain, Di Maria, Marcelo, Coentrao, and the list goes on.
Next, Hazard adds depth on the wing. Right now the starting wingers are Ronaldo and Di Maria. Behind these two are Kaka and Callejon, both of whom are not true wingers.
Kaka has been inconsistent and has been on transfer watch for a while. Callejon doesn't seem to be on the same level as his teammates, which is evident from his lack of starts in bigger games. Fabio Coentrao would make the most sense as he can play anywhere on the sides, but he seems to be more of a midfielder or defender in Mourinho's current system.
Adding Hazard to the ranks will put a highly talented, true winger in the lineup.
Finally, Eden Hazard represents a change of pace. As shown in games against rivals Barcelona, Real Madrid's attack seems lacking at times. Ronaldo has been fiercely criticized for his inconsistent play in El Clasicos.
I'm not advocating Hazard as a starter over the Portuguese; however, should Ronaldo continue to look weak in his starts in the bigger games, Hazard can come in and bring a different style of play to harass Dani Alves. He could become more of a playmaker for the likes of Benzema and Higuain.