Eden Hazard is a familiar name these days. More so with the Arsenal FC fans. That's not a surprise when you consider the fact he has been linked to Arsenal since he first touched a football.
I don't think there's any Arsenal fan who doesn't want to see Hazard in an Arsenal shirt. Every summer he has been linked with Arsenal.
However, for some reason he's still not an Arsenal player. It's not a one-way love affair. Hazard is also a huge fan of Arsenal and their style of play.
He rates Arsene Wenger highly and has always been keen on a move to the Emirates.
I for one feel Wenger should have signed him last summer when he already was on his way to super stardom. Wenger's reluctance to spend money has always backfired and this is another perfect illustration of that.
Last summer, Hazard was valued around £15 million. Considering the immense potential and unique abilities of the player, that was a decent amount (relatively safe as well) to fork out.
It was not as if he was a completely unknown player. Regular followers of Ligue 1 knew (I'm not one of them, although I did watch Lille's games on occasions to get a glimpse of Hazard) he was destined for something special.
Wenger, for some reason, left it too late. One year has proved one too many. Hazard was keen on a move last summer. Lille were happy to let go of him for the right price but wanted him back on loan for another season. Had Arsenal forked out £15 million and allowed him to stay at Lille for one more season, it would've been a coup.
Will Arsenal sign Hazard this summer?
It would've been a brilliant investment on a player who's set to join Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi's league (not La Liga!) in the coming years. Sadly, a bid was never forthcoming from Wenger. He was rather focusing his attention on an obsolete French defender.
One year on, Hazard is a bona fide star. He was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Season and was the youngest player ever to win the award. On account of what I've seen, that's just what he deserved.
A rare talent. Quick and agile, Hazard is a mesmerizing dribbler. The most notable thing is the speed with which he dribbles which makes him a unique talent and a nightmare for defenders.
At 20 if he could do what he has been doing then imagine what he can do in two or three years' time. I've not even mentioned his superb first touch and high technical abilities. At times words are not enough to describe the innate abilities of a footballer. This player is in that bracket.
One more thing I've noticed is his ability to curl the ball, but his shooting needs to improve a bit. Nothing is perfect. Not even Hazard!
One thing, though, that is guaranteed at the moment is there is no natural wide player at Arsenal who can even come close to Hazard (don't list Nasri, Arshavin, Vela etc. in that order, simply because they're not natural wide players and Arshavin is a liability these days if you forget statistics and statisticians for a moment)
Admittedly, it was a huge blunder on Wenger's part having failed to recognise his talents at the right time. Hazard is now worth at least £25m (according to experts). And even a bid for that sum wouldn't guarantee you Hazard because most of the top clubs would want him and a bidding war is highly likely which might see his price rise by another £10m.
First off, you can't expect Wenger to spend even £15m (exceptions are there) let alone £25m. The player is contracted to the club until 2015 so there is no urgent need for Lille to sell their wonder kid.
It's also worth remembering Lille are the Ligue 1 champions and will play in the Champions League next season. So Hazard would be more than happy to stay.
Any dream of Hazard coming to Arsenal now or in the future is far-fetched. So, it's high time fans stopped adding Hazard's name to every Arsenal shopping list.
He's beyond the realms of Arsenal's limited financial clutch.
There is a slim possibility if Samir Nasri refuses to sign a contract extension. Then the money from the sale of Nasri could be reinvested in Hazard.
Or Arsenal can sell Andrey Arshavin (unlikely) and Tomas Rosicky and fund the rest from their kitty and bid for Hazard. And he would fit seamlessly into Arsenal's payroll in the place of Arshavin without increasing the annual wage bill.
There's more chance of me going to the moon than this happening. So, don't be optimistic about this one.