It's been an interesting turnaround for Eden Hazard at Chelsea. Early in the season, he was regarded as an uncommitted player who would drift in and out of games. Now he is apparently worth close to £100 million.
According to Doyle, Mourinho took a special interest in the 23-year-old, setting him targets and giving him regular feedback on his progress. He wanted more consistency and a commitment to becoming a true professional.
Eden Hazard (13/14) Chelsea's Top PL Goalscorer (8) Most Chances Created In PL (49) Most Fouled Player In PL (56) Most Succ Take-Ons (72)— EPL Stat Man (@EPLStatman) January 10, 2014
Mourinho's faith has been rewarded to the extent that, according to Martin Lipton at the Mirror, he now values Hazard at three times the price Chelsea paid:
There is no chance of Eden going, no chance.
His value was £32 million when he joined and he’s now two or three times better than that, so his market value, even if we wanted to sell, would be crazy.
This has come on the heels of a report in the Mirror that Hazard would be joining Paris St. Germain in the summer, with the English paper crediting Le Parisien with the story. That story quoted Hazard as saying "I will certainly be joining Paris next summer," via "a teammate" of his.
Jose Mourinho says there is plenty of improvement still to come from Eden Hazard, and has ruled out letting him go. http://t.co/OpzkWRDrPG— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 11, 2014
Mourinho moved quickly to quash the rumour and laughed it off, instead reiterating his confidence in the player with the high estimate of his transfer fee.
This move would seem to cement Hazard's place in the Chelsea line-up for the rest of the season, which has seen Hazard turn in much-improved performances and look like the player Chelsea saw when they brought him in from Lille.
With the reported exit of Kevin de Bruyne to Wolfsburg and the ongoing unrest of Juan Mata, it's vital for Mourinho that Hazard continues his rise in a Chelsea shirt. Should both De Bruyne and Mata leave, however, the door would be open for Mourinho to bring in another player.
Is Eden Hazard worth £100 million?
The Wayne Rooney rumour isn't going to go anywhere, but Mourinho would be wiser to wait until the summer and get him at a reduced fee.
He also knows that Moyes cannot afford to lose the support of United fans. Selling Rooney in this window would go a way towards accomplishing that, so the Chelsea boss will bide his time.
For now, Mourinho must look to his current crop of players to get the job done. With the title race still so open, this Chelsea side has enough quality to finish the year at the summit of the table.
It's a risk—especially if the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool strengthen their squads—but it just goes to show how much Mourinho is willing to place on the shoulders of his young playmaker.
It's now up to Hazard to fulfil that expectation.