In-demand from three of the Premier League’s leading outfits, Eden Hazard has snubbed the advances of Manchester City and Manchester United in order to sign for Champions League winners Chelsea.
The 21-year-old confirmed long ago that he would be making a move to England this summer, though his eventual destination has been speculated upon for months.
Tottenham and Arsenal’s interest cooled somewhat in light of the huge transfer fee Hazard would command, and even mega-rich Man City were reportedly deterred by the player’s wage demands.
This paved the way for Chelsea to step in, and they will pay Lille £32million for last season’s Ligue 1 player of the year, who will sign a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge.
Belgian starlet Hazard will be paid £100,000 per week after tax in London, amounting to £4.8million per year across the next five seasons.
Whilst the deal is yet to officially be confirmed by Chelsea, affirmation of Hazard’s decision came from the player himself, who revealed on his Twitter account yesterday, “I’m signing for the Champions League winner.”
Hazard will complete a medical at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground next week, in the aftermath of Saturday’s meeting between England and his native Belgium at Wembley.
He is expected to become the first of many Blues signings this summer, as Roman Abramovich aims to reduce the average age of the Champions League-winning squad.
Outgoings such as Salomon Kalou and iconic forward Didier Drogba will free up cash for the wages of potential signings like Hulk, who remains a chief target from Porto.
Also, Branislav Ivanovic is in high demand, with the defender on the radar of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Chelsea would be reluctant to lose the Serbian, but could be tempted to do business if his exit meant further young, attacking additions could be made to the squad.