REAL MADRID

Real Madrid signing Hazard: reasons for and against

The Chelsea star would undoubtedly bring much to the team, but a potential swoop for the Belgian doesn't only have upsides to it.
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Real Madrid signing Hazard: reasons for and against
Toru Hanai Reuters

Real Madrid need to make a signing to fill the hole left by Cristiano Ronaldo's departure, and, with Neymar and Kylian Mbappé both staying at Paris Saint-Germain, Eden Hazard's apparent desire to play for Los Blancos leaves the Chelsea attacker in pole position to be that man.

However, while Hazard would certainly be a quality addition to Julen Lopetegui's squad, a potential move for the Belgium star doesn't only have upsides to it. These are the advantages and disadvantages to signing him.

Contras:

Price

For a start, Chelsea's financial demands mean it will by no means be an easy deal to get over the line. The Blues would be seeking around 200 million euros in exchange for letting Hazard leave Stamford Bridge - a price tag above what Real are willing to pay for a player who, though undoubtedly a class act, is not seen at the Bernabéu as a superstar on the same level as the likes of Cristiano, Neymar and Mbappé. What's more, a massive outlay on the player could leave nothing left in the budget for further top-quality arrivals in other positions.

Effect on Isco and Asensio

The area of the field in which Hazard operates would clash with the two young Spaniards, in a year in which both are expected to take the next step forwards in their Real careers. Hazard can play on either flank or tucked in centrally behind the striker, but is most commonly found on the left wing. He would also have repercussions for Gareth Bale, who would have to continue playing on the right or up top, despite Cristiano no longer being there.

Relative goal-shyness

Cristiano's exit leaves a massive void in front of goal - and, while it's impossible to find another player capable of scoring 50 goals a season year in, year out, it's undeniable that the likes of Neymar and Mbappé were superior targets to Hazard in that department. Not being an out-and-out forward is without doubt the factor that most plays against him, because although he chips in with a reasonable share of goals and supplies plenty of assists, he cannot guarantee precisely what Real are most going to need in the post-CR7 era.

Pros:

He won't be hard to convince

Hazard has never hidden his desire to play for Real Madrid. He particularly refused to shy away from links to the club while Zinedine Zidane was in charge, but plying his trade at the Bernabéu remains an attractive prospect to him even with the Frenchman gone. What's more, he's far less likely to consistently win top honours if he stays at Chelsea, who aren't even in the Champions League this year.

Quality in abundance

Of the obtainable players on the market, he's probably the most talented. A highly complete footballer with pace, dribbling and passing ability and a fine shot, he has just been one of the stand-out performers at this summer's World Cup, leading his country to a third-place finish in Russia. It'll be hard for Real Madrid to bring in another player with as much quality this summer.

Maturity and leadership

At 27, he would arrive in the Spanish capital at the peak of his powers and now very much established as a mature operator who - much as he has in Belgium colours - could become a real leader in the team. He captained the Belgians at Russia 2018, and was a constant driving force in their run to the semi-finals.

He is an EU citizen

Hazard wouldn't fill up a non-European Union spot in the Real squad, so he would potentially leave the door open for another player from outside of the EU and would be less likely to cause doubts to arise over the apparent decision not to loan Vinicius out. That's not an advantage that someone like Neymar would have brought.

Competition for places

Lopetegui wants to have two players for every position in the squad, and Hazard's presence would certainly help to create healthy competition for places among those who feature in the same area of the pitch as he does - which, in truth, includes many of the midfielders and attackers in the first-team group.