Thorgan Hazard is reportedly continuing his career with German side Borussia Monchengladbach, and like compatriot Kevin de Bruyne before him, it's becoming increasingly doubtful we'll ever see him shine as a Chelsea regular.
The younger Hazard spent the last two seasons on loan with Belgian side Zulte Waregem, and according to Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl, he'll be moving to the Bundesliga next season.
Eberl told the Rheinischen Post (h/t to Sky Sports):
We were always going to make an attacking signing, no matter what the situation is with Luuk de Jong and Peniel Mlapa, and this will be Thorgan Hazard.
We have exchanged contracts with Chelsea and we have agreed with Thorgan, we have all agreed and now just need to sign the contracts.
Hazard's loan-spell with Zulte Waregem was a productive one. The midfielder developed into a formidable playmaker and helped the club challenge Belgian heavyweights RSC Anderlecht for the title in two consecutive years, winning the Player of the Year award in the process.
In many ways, Hazard is similar to former Chelsea player De Bruyne. Like the current Wolfsburg playmaker, he's a capable winger who plays his best football from a central role, feeding the ball into running lanes.
He's strong technically, plays a beautiful pass and has the athletic tools to be a danger running into the box with the ball at his feet. He's very adept at finishing in front of goal, but his best quality is the way he sets up teammates with open looks.
As evidenced by his performances in the Bundesliga and with the Belgian national team (per Goal's Cristian Nyari), De Bruyne has the potential to be an extremely productive player on a very good team. His ceiling might not be that of a world-class midfielder, but he's a safe, solid option who won't misplace too many passes.
One of the best World Cup performance from Kevin De Bruyne: 1 goal, 1 assist. team-high 20 duels and 6 shots, match-high 10 key passes. #BEL— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) July 1, 2014
Is he good enough to be a regular starter for a club like Chelsea? Probably not. De Bruyne would have been a valuable bench player and great depth for the Blues, but with Wolfsburg making the right offer for his services, it made more sense for Chelsea to sell him than to continue developing him internally.
De Bruyne lacks the explosiveness that makes Hazard such a threat from the wing, and while his performances are more consistent than Belgium's choice left-winger, he doesn't have the extra gear Hazard brings to the Blues.
The younger Hazard doesn't have that explosiveness either. Belgian football expert John Chapman thinks the comparison to De Bruyne is a good one:
Seems Thorgan Hazard is going on loan to Bundesliga. As his style is more similar to Kevin De Bruyne than to Eden Hazard, good choice. #cfc— John Chapman (@BelgoFoot) July 3, 2014
If Hazard does spend the next season playing in the Bundesliga, he will have every opportunity to convince potential suitors of his quality and potential. The Belgian is good enough to start for a side like Monchengladbach and grow into one of the team's top players in a few years' time.
Like De Bruyne, his ceiling doesn't appear to be high enough to force his way into Chelsea's starting XI anytime soon. And if he continues his development at this rate, the offers for his permanent signature will start coming in soon enough.
The Blues will be forced into a similar situation as the one they faced with De Bruyne—hold onto a player whose future at the club is still very much a question, or cash in while his value is still high.
Ultimately, the decision to sell De Bruyne was a win-win for everyone involved, and Chelsea will most likely follow the same pattern in this scenario. As much as Eden would love to see his younger brother succeed at the club, it's doubtful Thorgan Hazard will ever make a big impact for the Blues.