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Man United’s “battle” to get Eden Hazard and the reasons behind the £32 million reject

Eden Hazard was bought by Chelsea from Lille 10 years ago today, and the Belgian went on to become one of the best Premier League talents at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea reinvested some of their Champions League riches on Hazard, who cost the Blues £32 million. Hazard was beginning to make an impression at Lille, where he had impressed since joining the club’s development system at the age of 16.

Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp famously saw Hazard in a hotel room when trying to transfer the Belgian to White Hart Lane, while Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was anxious to sign him the same summer. Hazard, on the other hand, selected Chelsea, and here, Mirror Football looks back on the transfer battle and the reasons why United and Tottenham were passed over.
Take a moment to remember the summer of 2012. Chelsea has just won their first ever Champions League trophy in spectacular fashion against Bayern Munich, while Manchester City owes their Premier League championship to Sergio Aguero’s last-minute winner.

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Euro 2012 was ready to begin in Poland and Ukraine, despite Belgium’s failure to qualify for the tournament for the third time in a row. We had no idea that Belgium would go on to become the world’s best team, with a golden generation that included Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku, to mention a few.

Hazard was still a relatively unknown quantity at the time, but he had piqued the eye of Premier League clubs. Ferguson was ready to make Hazard his long-term winger when United contacted him, but it was Chelsea’s Champions League victory that persuaded Hazard to transfer to Stamford Bridge.

“I told myself when they won the Champions League, ‘Why not Chelsea?'” Hazard remarked after signing in 2012. Chelsea and [Manchester] United were in a battle, but Chelsea, in my opinion, has the greatest project. It’s a fantastic club.”

Hazard turned down United for a sum of £32 million because he believed he would be given more opportunities at Chelsea. Hazard continued, “The [Chelsea] team is young, and I have a greater opportunity to play there.” “If I do well enough at Chelsea, I might earn a starting spot.”

And he did win his spot, quickly rising to become their most significant player, and he has been one of their most prominent players for the past decade. Furthermore, his assessment of the United squad as elderly was dead on, since despite winning the title that season, they continued to disintegrate.
Hazard went on to win two Premier League championships with Chelsea, as well as being named Premier League Player of the Year in 2014/15. He was also named Chelsea’s player of the season four times.

But it wasn’t just United who were interested in Hazard; former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said that they were on the verge of signing him until Chelsea intervened. According to Redknapp, “I lost Eden Hazard, who wanted to join Tottenham but only if we were able to play in the Champions League.

“That year, we finished fourth, Chelsea sixth, and they won the Champions League while we missed out. In the end, he went to Chelsea.”

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