Rui Vieira/Associated Press
One of the more surprising articles of the January transfer window was the link between Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard, per Le Parisien (via Ed Malyon of the Daily Mirror).
Less of a shock this week, however, was the Belgium international playing the "flattered by the interest" card and ensuring the supporters knew he had no intention of leaving Stamford Bridge, as Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard reported on Tuesday.
Hazard is quoted as saying:
There was never a question of leaving Chelsea. I feel good at this club, and I still have a lot of things to do here.
I'm flattered to read that PSG are interested in me. But that doesn't worry me. I am certain of what I have in mind, where I'm going. No-one will change my mind. The objective is to be the best with Chelsea.
A youngster like me learns on a daily basis by being in contact with seasoned pros like [Frank] Lampard, [John] Terry, [Petr] Cech, [Samuel] Eto'o. They have won so many things.
There is no doubt that the 23-year-old is the darling of the west London club at the moment.
His hat-trick last weekend inspired the 3-0 win over Newcastle United ,which sent the Blues to the top of the Premier League, a position they still hold after the midweek matches.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho also knows the value of the former Lille man, who joined the Blues from the French club in June 2012 for £32 million, and he dismissed the PSG interest himself on Monday, according to Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror:
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.
But he’s not a player we are interested in selling.
Mourinho would not be one of the top managers in world football without recognising a burgeoning talent, though, and a further quote in Lipton's article is telling:
When I came, he (Hazard) was known as one of the worst trainers. He’s a funny boy, always laughing and smiling and having a joke with the others, so he didn’t have top concentration.
Now, I won’t say he’s the best, but he is a good professional. He’s become very effective in terms of real production but also improved his defensive aspects, working hard for the team.
Every game, he wants to take the initiative. He doesn’t do something then disappear for 30 minutes before he does something fantastic again. He wants to be influential all game. He’s the kind of player we want.
It is little wonder that Mourinho is in no rush to sell Hazard. While Juan Mata struggled to find his way into the Chelsea manager's plans, the Belgian has found little problem.
Hazard has scored 13 times in 30 appearances in the Premier and Champions League for Chelsea this season, and he has also provided five assists during the same game-span, per WhoScored.
Mourinho will recognise Hazard as a player to build a future team around, rather than another Mata who does not fit his template.
It is, perhaps, more pertinent to note that Hazard also views Stamford Bridge as a place to continue his footballing education.
Believability meter: High
It is entirely understandable why PSG view Hazard as a future signing. Which ambitious European club wouldn't want to bring in such a formidable talent?
However, Hazard has indicated that his footballing education is in the right hands under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.
We can expect the Chelsea manager's £100 million valuation to go through the roof after the World Cup finals, which will be an interesting conundrum for both Mourinho and club owner Roman Abramovich.
But we can't see Hazard jumping the Chelsea ship in the near future.