Manchester United Transfer News: 5 Reasons MUFC Must Sign Eden Hazard
It is the first time since the 2005 season that Manchester United has finished the season without a single cup in domestic or European play (excluding the Community Shield, which isn’t exactly a bragging point). Statistically the season wasn’t a complete disappointment, with United finishing with one of the highest point totals in Premier League history with 89 points—nevertheless, wins are what matter in Old Trafford.
In the summer transfer window, Manchester United must look to make some big moves and marquee signings to bolster its squad and return to its winning ways.
Eden Hazard is one of the most promising talents of football in the world and should be United’s top target.
His move away from his current club Lille is one that has been anticipated over the last two years by almost every top club in Europe. Hazard first stated his interest in favoring a move to England in the January transfer window and said that he was going to “England." His choice has been awaited by top Premier League clubs such as Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United.
His decision could come as soon as this week, as he has picked out his final three candidates in Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United. Here are the five reasons why Manchester United must do everything to sign him.
The Missing X-Factor
Manchester United has not had an X-factor player since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
Cristiano Ronaldo was a goalscoring machine, with 68 goals in 96 games in all competitions in his final two years for United. Apart from his goalscoring ability, Ronaldo also provided the belief that anything was possible by scoring crucial goals in big games and being the leader that took the pressure off the rest of the team.
Wayne Rooney has stepped into that role by leading the team in scoring since Ronaldo’s departure, but he has been the only player who has done it consistently. With the lack of another player in United capable of being an X-factor consistently, teams have focused in on stopping Rooney and taking a chance on letting other United players beat them.
United has remained the top team in England and been very successful in European competition, but that void has been seen in United’s failure to win its biggest games—as was the case in the 2011 Champions League Final.
Eden Hazard looks fit to perfectly fill the X-factor role that United is missing. He has been the go-to guy and leader of his team at only 21 years old, which is a testament to his confidence—a must-have for a United player.
Even with teams looking to take him out of the game, he has been nearly unstoppable despite not playing alongside another world-class player to help carry the load. Playing alongside world-class players such as Wayne Rooney, Luis Nani, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Paul Scholes (to name a few), would allow Hazard to further improve his game and produce even greater numbers.
Manchester United's Magnificent No. 7
Manchester United has a storied and beautiful tradition that comes with the No. 7 jersey.
The tradition began when it was worn by the great George Best, when jerseys were given to players according to their positions. Best began to set a mark on the kit by being one of the most talented players in the world. He also set another mark on the No. 7 by being one of the first celebrity footballers—he was known as the “Fifth Beatle."
That tradition of world-class talent and celebrity began to stick to the No. 7 jersey at Manchester United. Eric Cantona was the next great in the number for United. On the field he was known as “King Eric” and was born to play for United with his theatrical swagger and his trademark popped-up collar. His unique personality eventually followed Eric to becoming an actor.
The tradition continued and was maybe set even higher in David Beckham's career as United's No. 7. He more than fulfilled his role on the field by leading the team to 15 combined cup wins and by scoring many of his trademark free kick goals. Off the field, he became a worldwide celebrity after marrying the famous Spice Girl Victoria Adams. A social life and popularity that may have been too much for him and Sir Alex caused his departure from the club in 2003.
An equal (if not bigger) celebrity than David Beckham was Cristiano Ronaldo. In his career at United he may have been the greatest scorer in United’s history, and he was definitely the most exciting player to watch. Ronaldo quickly fit into the No. 7 jersey (which was given to him by Fergie after he had first requested No. 28,) becoming world-famous with his beautiful play and spectacular goals.
Eden Hazard could quickly fill the United No. 7 jersey. On the field he has the swagger and style, with his flawless and silky dribbling. His moves are second to few in the world, and his majestic skill with the ball is an easy reminder of Ronaldo's skills at Manchester United.
Off the field he is not a huge figure yet, which can be attributed to his age and the fact that he has only played for two seasons in France. Despite his limited exposure, he is known to want the spotlight on him and is expected to make a Lebron-like decision regarding his choice for his future club—a personality fitting a United 7.
Creativity in Midfield
Creativity in the midfield was once the strong point of United with the likes of Nicky Butt, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Those glory days of Manchester United’s midfield are long gone, and with Scholes & Giggs in the final years of their careers, United are in need of a creative midfielder.
Midfield was a promising position for United when one of the most talented young players was bought in Anderson in 2007. He began his career with signs of great talent and was given trust by Sir Alex Ferguson, taking the winning penalty in the 2008 Champions League Final in only his second year.
Since then, Anderson has failed to cement his place in United’s starting 11 largely due to his frequent injury problems each year. That's not to say Anderson won't eventually find his fitness and live up to his talents—but United cannot stand around and wait for Anderson to perform.
In the beginning of the 2011-2012 campaign Tom Cleverley was the bright spot of a spectacular start to the season. His control of the midfield and his retaining of ball possession quickly led to him being touted as Paul Scholes’ successor. As in the case of Anderson, an injury caused Cleverley to miss a big chunk of the season and was the leading cause of Paul Scholes coming out of retirement to fill the void in the midfield.
This season, Manchester United's game was revived by the resurgence of Paul Scholes but many times United’s play was too predictable. Wayne Rooney was forced to create and be the link between midfield and the goal which seemed to take a toll on his body throughout the games. The missing creativity limited Rooney to drop-and-play in a deeper central role that seemed to hurt his game. He was not only expected to be the leading scorer but also the leading creator of football for United which is a near impossible feat.
Also, United's game relied too heavily on its wing play to cover up for the lack of a creative midfielder, wing play that was fairly inconsistent with Luis Nani and Ashley Young at times disappearing from games. The one player who benefited from the dependence of the wing play was Antonio Valencia, who had a breakout year and was one of the few bright spots of United's year.
Eden Hazard can be plugged in the central creative midfielder role behind a striker or be deployed out wide with a free flow to move through the middle of the field.
At Lille he has mostly played out on the wing but he is a versatile player who can easily become a fixture in the central midfield role with his outstanding vision and creativity which led him to become the goal and assist leader for Lille this past season. Versatility is a key trait that Sir Alex looks for in his players, and he many times uses them in various positions throughout the season. Hazard’s vision, dribbling skills, and goal scoring abilities are the traits that United need and is missing in creativity in the midfield.
Statement Signing Needed for the Club
Since the Glazer takeover of United in 2005, the fans have been largely opposed to the Glazer family. The club has had to take on a huge debt, after being debt-free for years, due to the Glazer takeover. Many fans believe that the Glazers have handicapped the team by limiting the spending of the club. Fans have yet to see where the £80 million received from selling Ronaldo have gone, other than in the Glazers' pockets.
Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill have both denied this allegation and have said that Sir Alex and Manchester United are willing to compete in the transfer market. United have lacked a big marquee signing over the last few years—none of the sort that Sir Alex is known to make as he did before with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron, Rio Ferdinand, and Wayne Rooney.
With City spending ridiculous amounts of money and overpaying players with “silly salaries” as Ferguson stated, United must make a statement this summer. They must sign a marquee name to prove to other clubs and players that they are still willing and able to compete in the transfer market.
Eden Hazard is the top available talent that every top club wants in Europe. With the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid luring most players in the past few years, Hazard has shocked the world by declaring that he is looking to play in England next season.
He has shortlisted his top teams down to Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United. Hazard is the signing United needs on and off the field and one that could determine the teams future for the next decade.
Sky Is the Limit on Hazard's Potential
Eden Hazard’s potential is second to none in the world. At only 21 years old and with only 2 seasons under his belt at Lille he has produced numbers that far exceeded any expectations.
He has been the only player to win consecutive Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year awards, a feat that not even French legends Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry ever achieved. His play has not gone unseen and Zinedine Zidane was quoted saying that he would sign Hazard with his eyes closed and in a heartbeat if he could. Praise from a midfield magician himself speaks volume to how good Eden Hazard really is.
Sir Alex Ferguson possesses many great attributes as a great coach but one of the best may be his skill to mold exceptional talent into a world class player. We have seen Sir Alex turn an 18-year-old Portuguese phenom with an attitude problem into a leader and the best player in the world who goes by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo. He has also helped develop and mature Wayne Rooney into arguably the best English footballer in the world.
Talent alone does not translate into success, as evidenced by Ravel Morrison, whose attitude could never be adjusted at United. But if any coach in the world can get the most out of a player’s talent, it is Sir Alex Ferguson.
Eden Hazard’s talent may be the greatest to come at Old Trafford since Cristiano Ronaldo and may be even greater. Ronaldo had limited experience at first-team flight when he first arrived at United and his numbers showed promise, but they were not in any way world-class (scoring 3 goals in 25 games at Sporting Lisbon). On the other hand, Hazard in only two seasons of play has not only shown promise but has produced world-class numbers by leading the team in goals with 20 and assists with 16 in 35 games.
Sir Alex turned Cristiano Ronaldo into the best player in the world and possibly one of the greatest ever with the talent he possessed. Eden Hazard ‘s potential is unmeasurable, and with Sir Alex Ferguson as his manager, he can not only match but even surpass the numbers and achievements Ronaldo produced at United.
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