Hazard and Lukaku Leading Chelsea's Belgian Revolution

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - JULY 21: Eden Hazard of Chelsea congratulates Romelu Lukaku after he scored the 3rd goal  during the match between Chelsea and Malaysia XI on July 21, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images)
Stanley Chou/Getty Images

It's normally the mention of Belgian chocolate that gets our taste buds salivating, although this season Chelsea fans are in for a different treat altogether from the country also famous for its waffles and beer.

Forget indulging in said treats of a culinary variety, it's Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne who are going to be throwing up a feast throughout 2013-14.

Chelsea's trio of Belgians have been in excellent form throughout the preseason, with the latter De Bruyne scoring in this weekend's 2-0 victory over AC Millan in the Guinness International Champions Cup.

The 22-year-old has been a Chelsea player for 18 months, but after a promising loan spell with Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga last term, Blues fans will finally get to see him in the flesh when the season kicks off in less than a fortnight.

Indeed, De Bruyne is an exciting talent, but it's the emergence of his compatriots Hazard and Lukaku at Stamford Bridge that really captures the imagination.

Hazard arrived in West London last summer for a reported £32 million from French outfit Lille and he showed instantly why clubs from all across Europe had been chasing his signature.

His form in the early stages of 2012-13 was sensational, grabbing four assists in his first three appearances, while also calmly slotting home a penalty against Newcastle United to help fire the Blues to an early lead at the top of the Premier League table.

With the departure of Roberto Di Matteo—the manager who signed him—in November, his form may have dipped at stages, but the 22-year-old left no doubt as to where his career is headed, finishing the campaign with 13 goals and 18 assists.

With Jose Mourinho now taking him under his wing, it's only going to get better.

"I'm trying to adapt Eden into everything I think a top player should have," the Portuguese recently told the Daily Mail.

"For example, Hazard did some defensive work in the friendly against Inter Milan [on Aug.1] that he usually doesn't.

"He is a top talent, but it's one thing being a top talent and another being a top player. And I want him to be a top player."

With Mourinho's expertise, there's no questioning if that will happen. Although he was slightly older and with a different style and position, Mourinho found Frank Lampard at a similar stage of his career to Hazard in 2004.

A young player with plenty of talent, looking to take that next step in his Chelsea career to join the greats, nine years on and Lampard has surpassed them all, becoming the club's leading goalscorer.

It's a similar situation with Lukaku, although it's Didier Drogba who provides the blueprint.

Given their physical attributes, it may be a simple comparison to make, but it doesn't make it any less relevant. And we know what Mourinho did for the Ivorian's career.

"West Brom made me a man." Lukaku told BBC Sport earlier this summer when discussing his successful loan spell in the Midlands that saw him find the back of the net 17 times in 35 Premier League appearances.

It seems that form has carried over upon his return to Chelsea, too, with the 20-year-old scoring four times in preseason.

Mourinho will be relishing the prospect of developing Lukaku further and from what we've seen throughout the summer with his use of the frontman and his compatriots, the manager is wise to what this Belgian contingent can offer Chelsea as they bid to reclaim supremacy at home and abroad.

Belgium has given the world many things. It gave the world of cinema Jean-Claude Van Damme. Music inherited the saxophone from Adolphe Sax. Is Belgium going to award Chelsea with another Premier League crown?

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes