Hazard continues to flirt as Premier League elite lay in wait

As the Arctic Monkeys exclaimed in their 2006 chart hit ‘The View from the Afternoon’; “anticipation has the habit to set you up for disappointment”. Like anything nowadays in football, hype and sensationalism have their place in the modern fabric and whilst Robin Van Persie has been billed as a scintillating hero, Chelsea’s Fernando Torres has been portrayed as a bumbling circus act at the best of times. So what of the hype surrounding Lille’s Belgian playmaker and his seemingly daily linkages with countless suitors across England and beyond? If he did move this summer, he would have to live up to quite some reputation.

He has to be the most talked about prospect in the modern game and it is widely accepted by many, if not all, that the 21-year-old will make the move to pastures new this summer but the whereabouts of his destination are still at large.

Hazard is undoubtedly a talent and it is easy to see why many top Premier League clubs have registered an interest in his services. The diminutive attacker stands at 5ft7 and can dribble at pace in a style as demonstrated so perfectly by Lionel Messi. Lille’s very own version of the Argentinian has a low centre of gravity meaning he can turn on a six pence and carve out those ever so eye-catching displays that many a football fan have witnessed on YouTube and the few televised Ligue 1 games available on English television.

Hazard certainly talks a good game and has most recently been linked with Tottenham and Manchester United amidst the other Premier League elite in recent months. His flirtation with the Premier League is somewhat of an intriguing matter with the Belgian having something good to say about a number of clubs on a seemingly weekly basis.

About a potential move to the white side of North London, Hazard said recently

‘Maybe I will play there next season; it’s a nice club with a lot of good players and absolutely a top coach’.

It had also seemed that Spurs had stolen a march on the chasing pack after Redknapp exclaimed

‘Our owner is ready to pay for an exceptional talent like Eden Hazard’

Indeed, high praise and a distinct respect between the player and Redknapp whose retention at White Hart Lane seems paramount in any such move to Spurs. But hang on a minute. Since Tottenham’s winless streak, Hazard’s attention has tracked north to Manchester.

Speaking recently after being watched by Sir Alex Ferguson in an away defeat to Lyon, Hazard exclaimed

‘Of course, this is a club (Manchester United) that excites anyone. For now my focus is on Lille but yes, it is a pleasure to be watched by one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best’.

Although brief about any firm intentions to join United, Hazard didn’t rule such a move out and the media have been sensationalising these scouting missions as the race to land the Belgian who might yet trump all English interest in favour of a move to La Liga.

If United’s interest wasn’t enough, cross-town rivals Manchester City have also gone to see what all the fuss is about with Roberto Mancini in the stands for Lille’s recent home victory against Valenciennes. Whilst Hazard remains adamant he is concentrating on the remaining months with his current club, he certainly hasn’t been impartial to a few complimentary mutterings about numerous clubs.

As a football fan, you have to question whether his behaviour is tolerable ahead of a potential move and whether he should simply keep his mouth closed until the summer. Arsenal fans have received a similar fate recently with Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen praising the club, only weeks after exclaiming Tottenham would be an exciting project to join.

Hazard is just the latest player in this new trend of keeping personal options open and almost toying with the minds of his potential suitors. In this way, if his flirtatious and outspoken behaviour continued following a move to a Premier League club, this could be potentially troubling and indeed hazardous if he were to be in and out of the team and vocal in his attempts to kick up a stink much like Balotelli before him. With the topical debate of ‘player power’ in full flow, it seems Hazard has all the cards in his hand surrounding his transfer this summer.

It remains whether Liverpool can prize Hazard away from Lille with Damien Comolli publically voicing his attempts to lure the player following the Carling Cup victory last month. Lille currently recruit Liverpool loanee Joe Cole and the Londoner could represent a potential deal-broker between the two clubs, but Champions League football must be foremost in Hazard’s mind amidst Liverpool’s slim chances of making the cut.

In a busy summer ahead for the Belgian who will potentially have more time to decide where his future lies considering Belgium didn’t make the Euro 2012 Championships, many clubs will have to assess whether any such move for Eden is indeed hazardous or not.

If he did favour a transfer to a Premier League club over a move to Spain or Italy, Hazard would be joining a string of his Belgian compatriots who have succeeded more recently in the division such as Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Moussa Dembele. One thing is for sure. If Hazard’s game is as good as the one he talks, the Premier League could be in for a real treat in the future.

Would Eden Hazard be a big hit in the Premier League? Should he keep his mouth shut instead of praising numerous clubs? Follow me @ http://twitter.com/Taylor_Will1989

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