Eden Hazard: Why Arsenal Would Have Been a Better Choice
Eden Hazard made his world-shattering decision of where he will be playing next after deciding that Lille is no longer the place for the place for his talents.
Hazard announced via Twitter that he would be joining the newly-crowned Champions League champions.
There had been speculation after the Blues were crowned champions, and now that it is a reality it's safe to say that this is a major mistake for the young Belgian.
Mr. Hazard would have been much better off going to Ashburton Grove than to Stamford Bridge. Here's why.
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Arsene Wenger has a keen eye for young talents.
Look at the signings of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and, more recently, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
All were nurtured by Arsene Wenger's artful and insightful mind and the input of his brilliant backroom staff. Though only three still play for Wenger, they have all found success wherever they have gone. Whether it be with Arsenal or abroad, they have all had success.
With the manager-less Chelsea, Hazard will not have the opportunity to be shaped by one of the few once-in-a-generation managers who has a keen eye and sense for young footballers. A huge loss on Hazard's part.
He will be thrust out in the harsh spotlight of Stamford Bridge and expected to dance the dance that hearkens championships.
Fellow Young Footballers
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Chelsea's roster is full of elder, yet brilliant footballers.
With many of their key players in their late 20s, early 30s or waning stages of their career, Hazard will have to be the young, spry talent to invigorate an aging lineup.
Arsenal doesn't have this issue. Having garnered the reputation of being the young team on the block, Arsenal would have provided Hazard with similarly-aged players that share his energy and enthusiasm for the game. These are players who can light up the field with their blistering pace, delicate touch, and precise passing.
He would also be learning with players at his level instead of players who have been there, seen it, and know how to go around the block already.
This learning "togetherness," if you will, is key to building a successful team that is working in the same direction for the same goals. It creates a brotherhood among the players that allows them to work together like a family ensemble. This effect shows on the field through a high level of play and knowing who will be where and when.
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For the upcoming season, Chelsea are the reigning Champions League winners.
This has been a dream of their owner, Roman Abramovich, since he took over the club. With this title, however, they will be expected to repeat or at least make a deep run in the Champions League. They'll also be expected to perform at an ultra-high level domestically.
This is to be expected of a defending champion, of course. The problem they run into, however, is how they won that competition. They "parked the bus" in front of the goal. They put all 11 players behind the ball against two of the most attacking teams in world football and came out the victor because they outlasted the first 75-80 minutes of bombardment.
It is a ridiculous way to win, though apparently effective. If they don't sign on Roberto Di Matteo as their manager, however, it will be hard for them to repeat in the same fashion. He had players out on the field who could play in that extremely defensive, dampening style.
With players bound to leave and new blood coming in, who's to say whether or not they can repeat their Cinderella run in Champions League or any other competition they enter?
A Club in Transition
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Eden Hazard is coming into a club who will soon be selling established stars, such as Drogba, in order to transition into a younger, more exuberant team.
With Hazard's astronomical price tag, he will be expected to be one of the leaders during this transition period—scoring goals, setting up goals and helping to ease the loss of Lampard as years progress.
This will be far too much for the young Belgian to handle. That kind of pressure on an athlete who now plays for a club with hypercritical fans is unfair. There is no nurturing in that atmosphere. No room to grow. Just an automatic expectation to be great straight out of the gate.
Look at the world-renowned talents of Ballack, Shevchenko and even Torres. Crushed under the immense wants and needs of trophy-hungry, glory-hunting fans.
Look at the youthful talents of Romelu Lukaku, one of the most promising forwards in the world as of last year. He played all of four games for Chelsea.
Three in the Carling Cup and only one in the Premier League. Ridiculous numbers for a supposed world-changing talent.
Hazard will fall into the category of Lukaku or Shevchenko: he will either not play at all, which is ridiculous to even fathom considering his price tag, or he will be played immediately and expected to lead Chelsea through a transitional time when they are getting rid of the old and bringing in the new.
There shall he pass or fail.
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While it is nice of Hazard to not extend his decision process throughout the summer transfer window, one would think there are better places for a player of his caliber to take his talents.
With all respect to Chelsea, as it is an amazing signing to bring such a talent to the Bridge, it will be interesting to see how he is utilized and how quickly he adapts to the lightning-quick, rough-and-tumble pace of the Premier League.
If he adapts quickly and is able to translate his talents over the English Channel, he will help Chelsea on their way to repeating greatness. If not, he will be simply another dud of a player who has tried to make the jump to the Premier League and missed the ledge.
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