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Arsenal and Chelsea to partake in summer battle for Ligue 1 winger

| 08.02.2012

Touted as the ‘next Cristiano Ronaldo,’ Eden Hazard has emerged as one of the hottest properties in world football.

The 21-year-old winger particularly impressed last season for Lille, proving somewhat of a creative force by chipping in with nine assists during their charge to the Ligue 1 title, while also being named the division’s player of the year.

Now, a host of top European clubs are desperate to secure his services, though it would appear that London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea are most serious about completing a deal for the promising Belgian.

Chelsea have had Hazard watched well over 20 times, as they weigh up a move that would cost them in the region of £30m.

It is believed that the starlet may prefer a move to Stamford Bridge, having already discussed personal terms with The Blues in January, with Lille’s permission, and Hazard is also thought to be keen to join compatriots Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois at the club.

Arsene Wenger though, is desperate to reunite the tricky speedster with his former Lille teammate Gervinho, with whom he combined so well at the French club, particularly in their charge to a first title in over 57 years last season.

Arsenal may offer Hazard more regular first-team opportunities than he could get elsewhere, and this could put the Gunners in the driving seat for a player who has confirmed that promises of regular action will shape his decision.

Hazard undoubtedly wants to ply his trade in England, snubbing interest from oil-rich Paris Saint-Germain in an interview on French television, during which he stated: “I want to play in England because it is a style of play I like. I want to play for a big club, but also one where I will play every week.”

With this in mind, it would appear a two-horse race to snap the prospect up, and whichever club is playing Champions League football next season could prove the decisive factor in where Hazard ends up.



John Klee