Aston Villa are looking to crank up the gas on their transfer activity and sign players of genuine quality to catapult the club towards European contention once again.
According to Spanish outlet Defensa Central, the Villans are eyeing a move for veteran Belgian winger Eden Hazard on a cut-price deal, with the player severely hampered by form and injuries since his £150m move to Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2019.
While a transfer to Villa Park might be met with a sense of incredulity by many, but reports from Spain have been linking the former Premier League phenom with a return to England for several months now, stating his club have lost faith in him, and he is clearly deemed expendable in the eyes of manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Speaking to Marca last year about his future with Los Blancos, Hazard said: “In January it is impossible, because I have family and I like the city, but in summer it is possible that I go.
“I have one more year on my contract and it’s the club’s decision. If the club tells me ‘Eden, thanks for four years, but you have to go’, I have to accept it because it’s normal.
“But I would like to play more, show more that I can play, that I am a good player.”
Aston Villa could look to emulate the signing of Philippe Coutinho by signing Hazard; in similar circumstances, Coutinho arrived in Spain from Liverpool after dazzling in the Premier League, completing a lucrative £146m transfer to FC Barcelona.
And like his Belgian counterpart, he failed to live up to the fee and cement his role with one of Europe’s giants, since moving to Villa on an initial loan deal before making the signing permanent for £22m in the summer.
While Coutinho has not exactly set the world alight in the Midlands, it does represent a shrewd piece of business and a prudent approach from technical director Johan Lange, and one that could be repeated.
The “clinical” Hazard – as dubbed by Ancelotti – won the 14/15 Premier League Player of the Year, following a title-winning campaign with Chelsea that saw him plunder 14 goals and ten assists in the League and a further three goals and assists apiece in the Champions League.
Scoring 110 goals and 92 assists from 352 total appearances for Chelsea, winning two Premier League trophies, two Europa League triumphs, one FA Cup and one League Cup during his illustrious tenure in west London.
Should he complete a move to Villa Park, serving under Unai Emery, Hazard could provide the flair and guile to aid the team’s ascension towards prominence in the division.
A captivating figure, one of the most wily, wondrous wingers of the modern age, the 126-cap Hazard deserves all the acclaim he has been bestowed with across his distinguished career, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp once lauding him as a “special player“.
Despite the 31-year-old losing the very best of his golden form since departing from Stamford Bridge nearly four years ago, he can rekindle his very best form at Aston Villa.