Chelsea Transfer News: Jose Mourinho Wise to Brush Aside Eden Hazard Speculation

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2014

NORWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:  Manager Jose Mourinho of Chelsea speaks to Eden Hazard of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Chelsea at Carrow Road on October 6, 2013 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

With Chelsea's title challenge no longer looking in the danger zone, now's as good of a time as any to make sure the hazard lights are off.

Jose Mourinho quashed any speculation that Eden Hazard will leave Chelsea anytime soon, per the Daily Mail's Matt Barlow:

"If his value was around £40m when Chelsea bought him, and he’s two or three times better now, his value in the market is a crazy value," said Mourinho. ‘He’s not a player we’re interested in selling. There’s no chance of Eden going."

The rumours stem from reports by both RMC and Le Parisien discussing how Hazard could be tempted to move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, per Jonathan Johnson, Bleacher Report's resident French football expert.

Obviously, Chelsea must do everything in their power to ensure that the Belgian winger stays at the club. gives Hazard the highest average rating of any other Blues player this season. With the club's problems at striker this year, the winger's become the most consistent attacker in the squad.

While it's a no-brainer that Chelsea would covet a player of Hazard's ability, it's good for the club that Mourinho has both gone on the offensive denying any transfer and spoken highly of the player's improvement during the season.

Seeing Hazard linked with PSG is nothing new. Before he transferred to Chelsea, it was widely speculated that the young winger would stay in France upon his departure from Lille, swapping the red of Les Dogues with the blue of the Parisian giants.

The 23-year-old instead moved to Chelsea during the summer of 2012 and has taken to the Premier League like a fish to water. He recorded nine goals and 14 assists in 34 league games last year and has eight goals and seven assists in 20 matches this year.

Hazard has become the club's most important attacker, usurping the role from Juan Mata.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28:  Juan Mata of Chelsea looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane on September 28, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

The comparison to Mata is also very apt when looking at how their respective seasons have unfolded.

It's no secret that Mourinho has been hard on the Spanish attacker. Although he's a world-class midfielder, Mata has made 13 appearances in the Premier League. Some believed that Mata's failure to track back and defend was the cause of him not being in the squad, but the actual reasons remain unknown.

As a result, he's also linked with a move away from Chelsea—something that would've been unthinkable before the season.

Mourinho also took the same approach with Hazard, to a certain extent.

Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail wrote about what was believed to be the reason for the issues:

For one, Eden Hazard is first off the training pitches and first to get away after lunch. There is  disbelief that a player with so much ability should choose to lead his professional life this way. He could be one of the best.

Hazard was also absent from Chelsea's Champions League match against Schalke on Nov. 6 after he missed training.

Unlike Mata, the Belgian has seemed to respond positively to Mourinho's tough-love approach. He's gone above and beyond to earn a regular place in the squad.

The "Special One" spoke about the improvement he's seen in the player this year, per Barlow:

"He has made progress in everything," said Mourinho. "He was known before as one of the worst trainers and he has become, if not one of the best, a good professional.

"He is a funny boy, always laughing and smiling and having a joke with the others, so he did not have top concentration, or training sessions where he was looking to improve. Now he is completely different,  trying to improve collective and  individual qualities."

The fact that Hazard has gone through the wringer and come out a better player makes him even more invaluable. He knows exactly what is expected on the pitch, and he is willing to put in the effort on both ends of it.

This is a player who should be the centrepiece of Chelsea's attack for years to come. Since he's only 23 years old, it's scary to think of what he could become in three or four seasons. And during that time, there's no reason to think that he will have outlived his usefulness at Stamford Bridge.