Cast your minds back to the 2011/12 season and the saga of Eden Hazard leaving Lille.
The Belgium international was already expected to be a huge star, having won the league and cup double with Lille the previous season. It quickly became clear that a move to the Premier League was on the cards, and Hazard, clearly loving the attention, helped the drama along with various hints in interviews.
Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and both Manchester clubs were thought to be keen, with the player eventually moving to Stamford Bridge. He had considered Spurs seriously, although dropped the idea when it became clear they’d be selling some of their stars, and his first choice was Arsenal.
That’s according to John Bico, a former representative of the now Real Madrid player. Speaking to DH about Hazard’s career, he made it clear a transfer to Arsenal was what the attacker and his family wanted when the time came to move from Lille, but the agent wasn’t keen on the Gunners as an option.
DH quote him as saying: “It was his number one choice. His father’s number one choice too. But for me, it was a categorical refusal even when I really like this club, its history.
“Except that at the time, there were too many young people and too many French people. It would have been a little like Lille. Eden accepted this veto. Hardly, but he did. Arsenal would have been a decision of the heart but not that of a man even if it costs me to say that. With the environment there, I’m not sure he would have reached the same maturity as a man but also as a player.”
Bico remains convinced that he was right to tell Hazard to reject Arsenal, and feels the player’s career at Chelsea has justified that decision.