DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - OCTOBER 11: Beneditk Hoewedes (R) of Germany battles for the ball with Eden Hazard of Belgium during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group A qualifying match between Germany and Belgium at Esprit Arena on October 11, 2011 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)
We've been talking about Genk's Kevin de Bruyne a lot lately, but there's another Belgian winger on everyone's lips - Lille's Eden Hazard, who isn't just a prospect but already amongst the best in his position in the world. And (surprise!) he's wanted by the club as much as the fans - he could do for the right wing what Juan Mata's done for the Chelsea left.
So, here's the latest on the 20-year-old:
Eden is certainly willing to stay at Lille at least until next summer. Here is his home, this is his garden. Chelsea has been following him the closest. The Spaniards have not manifested themselves yet, but I think they are playing it smart and will call when they know they have to - I'm talking about Real, but also about Barcelona.
The buyer will have to come up with a lot of money - let us say he is not currently to go for less than forty million [euros].
-Lille academy director Jean-Michel Vandamme. Source: Setanta Sports.
The obvious way of taking that is that Hazard won't be moving until summertime, but that's not necessarily true - one suspects that it would depend entirely on Lille's performance for the remainder in season, especially in Europe. The club could easily be put into a position that they have to sell their best player, and fairly soon.
More interesting is the price point - £35M is a lot of money, but it should hardly be out of Chelsea's league should they be willing to pursue him. However, any move for Hazard probably will need to accompany a sale of one of Chelsea's spare wingers, and the impressive-so-far-Daniel Sturridge would once again find his playing time limited if Hazard was to somehow arise.
Oh, and one final point - Chelsea are clearly not close to a deal with Hazard, which is how many are interpreting the quote. All Vandamme has said is that they're following him very closely, which means nothing apart from the fact that they're very interested. There's no evidence that Lille and Chelsea are even talking at the moment.