By Sam Reilly – @ManLikeCHO
There are few players in world football that never fail to excite me with their individual talent and skill. Messi & Ronaldo are obvious choices but alongside them goes the Belgian Eden Hazard. During his time at Chelsea he has mesmerised fans from both sides with his jaw dropping skills and classy dribbling which has amazed English Football for the last 7 years since he put pen to paper.
But all good things must come to an end and the ever present rumours of Real Madrid targeting Hazard have become more substantial and reliable as the months have gone on from the World Cup. It seems the reappointment of Zinedine Zidane at Real has only solidified such talk.
There is always an outside chance he may stay and prove all the surrounding paper talk wrong but most fans of Chelsea are coming round to the fact that their beloved Belgian will depart from Stamford Bridge this summer to Los Blancos.
Now some Chelsea fans will despair at the thought of a player of Hazard’s calibre being replaced by a player like Willian. This is due to the fact that the financial spending power of Chelsea has been doubted in recent years, or perhaps spent in the wrong areas, as previous marquee signings like Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko have failed. Chelsea now act more and more as a self-sustainable club under the ownership of Roman Abramovich. However, there are many reasons for Chelsea to not look towards splashing the cash on a replacement for their talisman and perhaps looking at these options available on hand.
Firstly, many fans have seemingly forgotten that Chelsea have one of the most talented young wingers in football in the form of Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic, who signed for a fee of £58m. With Pulisic at the club, Chelsea are getting a ready-made talent who can play on both wings to a high standard and has been touted as the ‘golden boy’ in the USA.
He has handled the pressure of a move to a top German side in Dortmund at a young age with only Jadon Sancho, (arguably the most watched youngster in the game currently), successfully pushing out the American, who has a German Cup title to his name. His end product has sometimes been criticised by observant fans, but at the age of just 20 years old, he has much room to grow. Pulisic could become one of the top wingers in the Premier League with brilliant technical ability and a solid mentality to match.
Lastly, Chelsea fans are mostly on the same page that the club must do everything in their powers to keep Callum Hudson-Odoi. He is one of the most sought after talents in world football currently with his skill, pace and application attracting clubs like Bayern Munich and Juventus, who have kept tabs on the Englishman for the last few seasons. he’s excelled at youth level and is now a player in the senior squad on the cusp of breaking into the first team and hopefully staying there for years to come.
His story is one to admire, with the player working his way up the youth system of Chelsea and having worked his way all the way to playing in front of the Chelsea faithful at the Bridge and scoring in European competition. But most fans agree that Callum deserves more minutes, as the wingers present at Chelsea, bar Hazard, have been inconsistent for their stature in football (Willian and Pedro). The fan base is seemingly united in wanting youth to have a solid chance of becoming Chelsea regulars and beat the trend portrayed in the media in recent years. Callum Hudson-Odoi has all the ability to become one of the best wingers in the world and would be seen as Eden passing on the baton to his potential heir at Chelsea. The club hope to win him round to the idea of signing a new long term deal and the management of Chelsea see fit to give him the minutes he needs to develop and excel in a blue shirt.
In conclusion, Chelsea FC was here before and will be long after Eden Hazard, but the evidence is there that we have the correct tools in place to build a potential dynasty on our flanks for years to come.