Eden Hazard says he is waiting to see if Chelsea buy “good players” this summer before signing a new deal, and committing his peak years as a player to the club. The Belgian star’s current contract runs out in 2020 and, although the Stamford Bridge hierarchy desperately want him to agree a new one, the fact that he is 27 years of age means he knows this is probably the last deal he will sign in his prime. As such, Hazard wants assurances his team can compete at the very top level, but that at a time when there are suddenly a lot of questions about Chelsea’s plans.
“I want good players, because I want to win next season the Premier League,” the playmaker asserted ahead of the FA Cup final. Chelsea’s drop from first to fifth has come amid a lot of discussion about their ability to still compete at the top end of the market and, when asked about such inconsistency, Hazard conspicuously said “this is Chelsea! You never know what’s happening for the season”.
The No 10 did state Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester United would not be his last match for the club and that he is “happy” at Stamford Bridge amid so much speculation about his future and interest from Real Madrid and Manchester City, but there are no guarantees his current contract – signed in 2015 – will not be his last. Chelsea know the importance of keeping a player of Hazard’s status at such a trying time, and after initial talks are willing to offer him a deal of £300,000 a week. The Belgian however wants to see if the club will match his ambition with new signings of similar status.
“Like I say many times before, I think it is not my last game,” Hazard stated. “It’s the last game of the season, that’s it. After the World Cup then we will be ready for the next season. But for me in my mind, I’m here, I have one week to play now. Saturday is a massive game, I just want to win for me and them also.
“That’s why I’m taking my time,” Hazard said when it was put to him that he’s 27, and likely signing his last major deal. “It’s something big, so, yeah… I need to think of a lot of things. But, you know, one thing for sure is I’m happy here.
“I’m waiting for new players next season,” Hazard continued when asked about what he is considering. “We’ll see. I want good players, because I want to win next season the Premier League. Yeah, a lot of things, then we will see.”
Such comments indicate that Chelsea’s inconsistency from season to season has played on Hazard’s mind, and it was something he struggled to explain other than pointing to the distinctive identity of the club.
He did state that they could “save the season with the FA Cup”, and said there is an extra personal incentive because he wants to complete the full set of possible trophies at Stamford Bridge.
“I don’t know… it’s always hard after when you win the league, we saw it two years ago,” Hazard said. “This season was not good but you know… this is Chelsea! You never know what’s happening for the season. But, no, I think this year we dropped too many points at Stamford Bridge. In this condition you can’t be in the top four so I think it’s up to us now to save the season with the FA Cup. I never won the FA Cup in six years so I hope this year it’s for me and for Chelsea.
“Trophies are important. FA Cup, League Cup, Premier League, Champions League. You know. And it’s more important for me because I’ve never won this one. That’s why I want to win.
“I need two more trophies: Champions League and FA Cup.”
Even though United are favourites for the game partly due to Chelsea’s inconsistency, Hazard believes the side have still shown an ability to rouse themselves for big games this season, and even in the last month.
“I think this month was, yeah, strange, because we had bad games but also we played a fantastic game against Liverpool so I hope for Saturday the boys will be ready like we did against Liverpool last week. I think if we play all together, we can do something, especially against Man United. They are strong, they finish in front of Chelsea this season in Premier League, so, yeah, I think it’s a good game to play.
“We are focused. We are focused. We are ready 100%, all together, we have one week to play. It’s not a bad week so, yeah, we are looking forward to the game on Saturday. We played the same game last year. We lost, so I think this year is for Chelsea.
“We are playing for that. We are playing because we are Chelsea, and we need [a] trophy at the end of the season and at the moment we are nothing. We are not qualified for the Champions League next season, so this season has been bad, so now we can save a little bit this season, with this trophy, so we will give everything.”