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DONE DEAL: Chelsea’s past £208m ‘secret transfer’ puts spotlight over Eden Hazard return

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It’s the January transfer window and it’s only right to discuss some of Chelsea’s big money potential signings.

BILBAO, SPAIN - DECEMBER 22: Eden Hazard of Real Madrid reacts during the LaLiga Santander match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid CF at San Mames Stadium on December 22, 2021 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Eden Hazard has had a tricky time at Real Madrid as the potential for a return to Stamford bridge lurks.

Having a world-class player in your team such as Eden Hazard is one thing, but to add Lionel Messi into the mix? Chelsea would have dominated Europe for years.

The Messi to Chelsea transfer that never was.

Football London’s Danyal Khan reports that Messi was very close to signing with the blues back in 2014 for £208m. Jose Mourinho was ready to start the second season of his second stint at Chelsea as the news came in. Messi wanted the move to the Bridge. It didn’t take long for agents and managers to get involved and snatch the opportunity away from us.

According to Sky Sports’ Gianluca Di Marzio, Roman Abramovich agreed to give Messi an annual wage of £46.7million plus 70% on image rights.

Messi, one of the greatest footballers of all time, now finds himself at Paris St. Germain whilst Hazard continues his journey at Real Madrid.

Both players haven’t had the dream start to their new journeys as they would have liked.

The question that I want to know the answer to is if given the chance, would Chelsea fans sign Messi or Hazard today? Here’s what we think followed by a poll taken by 3,000+ Chelsea fans yesterday.

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 12: Lionel Messi of PSG during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and AS Monaco (ASM) at Parc des Princes stadium on December 12, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)
Lionel Messi almost signed for Chelsea back in 2014.

Anita AbayomiLionel Messi

I love Hazard as much as any Chelsea fan in this world. Probably a bit more. His swagger on the ball is a reason why I enjoy watching football. Players like him, such as Ronaldinho and Neymar who are playful with their craft and keep the beauty within the game.

Hazard was Chelsea’s greatest talisman of the Roman Abramovich era, a little magician I would like to call him. But let’s be serious here, if Messi comes knocking you open that door and drag him in. Messi may not be a Chelsea legend, but in my eyes he is the great football of all time. How could you turn this down? Yes, both players are not in the best of form at the moment, but at least Messi is not struggling for fitness at the moment.

The truth is Hazard is having a hard time with injuries and that could prevent him from delivering those special moments that he used to deliver before. Messi is still more than capable of delivering those moments and that is why I would prefer to sign Messi over the Belgian if given the chance this transfer window.

Jake StokesEden Hazard

I’d rather Chelsea sign Hazard over Messi from both a logical and emotional point of view – it’d be like welcoming a king back from war.

He’s a player who not only lifts fans from seats but creates something out of nothing like Messi can, but Hazard is a creative force engaged for the entirety of a game.

Messi tends to drift out of games and strolls around the pitch. Yes, it is part of his game, and ‘strolling’ isn’t laziness but a tactical ploy. The Argentine just wouldn’t cut it in a Thomas Tuchel side.

It would be great to have Messi at Chelsea, but I worry that games will bypass him, despite the glimpses of magic he can produce in an instance.

Eden Hazard of Real Madrid runs with the ball during the Copa del Rey Third Round match between Alcoyano and Real Madrid at Estadio El Collao on January 05, 2022 in Alcoy, Spain.
Eden Hazard has had a tricky time at Real Madrid as the potential for a return to Stamford bridge lurks.

Meanwhile, Hazard would be more in tune and operate on the same wavelength as everyone else – he would be part of the team, whereas, with Messi, it’d become him and the rest. We’ve seen that at PSG.

Hazard has just turned 31, whereas Messi is 35 in the summer, benefitting Chelsea more commercially if the Argentine was signed instead.

The Belgian’s injury record shouldn’t be an issue – he very rarely missed a game through injury when at Chelsea. Yes, he will be more susceptible now that he’s older and had picked up knocks along the way, but I think Cobham would keep him in shape.

Go sign Hazard, Marina!

Renuka OdedraEden Hazard

I agree with Jake and would sign Hazard for that connection. I admire Lionel Messi like most football fans probably, but I don’t think he would be the best at Chelsea. He’s arguably come to the tail end of his career, but you could make the same case for Hazard.

If Hazard returned, I think the fact he’s played in the Premier League and knows what he can add to the Chelsea squad. I expect he would be motivated and pick up his fitness at a club that he feels connected to. In comparison, he’s not been played long periods at Real Madrid to feel that connection.

Knowing that we have someone like Hazard in our squad will be a huge boost to the squad. I genuinely do think he’s got one last flurry on the pitch, and you never know. It could be on the Stamford Bridge pitch where it all went right for him.

Scott ClaytonLionel Messi

You all know this is a hard one to really pick between. Do you go with heart and say Hazard because of what he brought to the club in the past and how much I adore him or go with my football brain and accept Messi is the greatest footballer the world has ever seen so sadly Hazard has to lose.

As I write the sentence I already know I’ll get a response on social media with ‘Would you honestly take Messi over Hazard?’

Let’s keep it real, Chelsea sold Hazard at the perfect time.

Did it feel like it at the time after his sublime farewell performance in the Europa League final? No

But looking at how his career has gone since we sold. We would have all hated to be waiting month after month for his return clinging onto hope that he would come good. Imagine all the arguments on we should just wait for Hazard to return from injury than move on as a club.

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