We’ve all heard of talented players ‘slipping through the net’ and when Chelsea scout Guy Hillion recommended Eden Hazard to Chelsea at age 17 the London club decided not to pursue the interest, meaning one of the brightest young talents in world football may have gone un-noticed…
Luckily for him and for football this was not the case as he was picked up by Tubize and eventually moved to Lille who now rate the winger at £35m.
The Daily Mail reported on how Chelsea are now eyeing a move for Hazard as they look to add some pace and power to their ageing squad but how the choice to ignore scout Hillion could now cost Chelsea £35m.
Now a move to Chelsea at 17 may have rocketed Hazard to stardom, more so than at Lille, but also may have stalled his career as has happened to the likes of Lukaku who was one of the hottest young strikers around before moving to SW6.
Chelsea’s record for nurturing young talent during the Abramovich era has not been great with the likes of Lukaku, McEachran and Bertrand all failing to grasp first team opportunities.
Many pundits and fans was excited over young prospect McEachran during pre-season and most thought this would be a big season which may kick start his Chelsea career. Instead he has been loaned out to Swansea where he is struggling to hold down a first team place. Chelsea also signed Kevin De Bruyne but automatically loaned him back to Genk with some fans thinking it could be years before he even makes his Chelsea debut. The same has happened with Courtois and I’m sure Lukaku will be loaned out before long.
Now Chelsea are not the only club in the Premier League to have such a poor record of nurturing youngsters in the modern era, most of the ‘big clubs’ would sooner spend £30, 40, 50m on a ‘big name’ rather than taking a risk on a youngster.
If Chelsea had not been so blind and ignorant four years ago Hazard may well be lighting up the Blues attack, but more likely he would have been loaned out season after season and would now by plying his trade at a mid-table club.
Although Hazard may well cost Chelsea £35m it may be a price to pay as Hazard would almost certainly not be the player he is today if he had joined Chelsea at 17. Maybe signing for lesser ‘big clubs’ is the way to go for young players, history would suggest it is with the likes of Hazard, Gotze etc. are plying their trade and flourishing at medium sized European teams before moving to the English Premier League.
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