Chelsea FC: Hazard out, Nainggolan in?

Eden Hazard’s downfall at Chelsea has been one of the stories of the season, one which fans of the club would obviously not envisioned. From making a clean sweep at the Player of the Year awards after leading his side to the title last season, he became anonymous as Chelsea embarked on one of their worst seasons in history.

The 25-year-old on £200,000 per week looks destined to move away from the club and those mentioned right now include Real Madrid and PSG. The Belgian would prove to be an asset to both these clubs but at the moment, it seems more likely that he would be going to Bernabéu.

There is absolutely nobody who could dispute the player’s talent; it was on showcase last season and before that. He was gliding past players for fun and dominating games with his eye-catching skills. He was rightly rewarded with the PFA accolade at the end of the season.

Winners before him have only improved from there, with Luis Suarez going to win the treble with Barcelona, Gareth Bale earning himself the move to Real Madrid and winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.


Wrong end of the trajectory

Hazard has found himself at the wrong end of the trajectory. He was likened to Ronaldo by Jose Mourinho in pre-season and ever since, his form has only declined. He has been shorn of confidence and his groin and hip injuries since the turn of the year have also played a factor in this.

0 goals and just 3 assists in the Premier League in 26 appearances doesn’t make for a pleasant read and also puts in question just how much PSG and Real Madrid would be willing to pay for the Belgian.

Will the side even be able to recoup the £32 million they paid to Lille a few seasons ago. Last summer would have definitely been able to make a massive profit, but after these numbers, Chelsea’s chances of getting huge bucks on their attacker would be severely diminished.

It has been reported that Conte wants the player to stay on but it is more likely than not that he wouldn’t and wherever he goes, he will make a massive difference. He is only 25 and his talent and skill set cannot be disputed.

Obviously with a new manager coming in the summer, he might stay on as well. But at the moment, it does look like he’ll be heading away from Stamford Bridge come the summer.


Nainggolan in?

The one who could come to the club in the summer is compatriot Radja Nainggolan. The Belgium international has been linked with a summer move to Stamford Bridge as incoming manager Antonio Conte “has identified Nainggolan as a primary target”.

According to the Daily Mail, “talk of a proposed £30million move to the west London outfit intensified when Baldissoni’s fellow Roma director Walter Sabatini was spotted outside Stamford Bridge.”

Nainggolan would be a great addition to the Chelsea squad and Conte must try his best to land the player, who possesses the attributes Arturo Vidal did, someone who was crucial for the Italian at Juventus. The 27-year-old would provide the right balance in the club’s midfield, which has been a weak spot this season.

Last season’s unsung hero Nemanja Matic has been another one who has suffered an inexplicable contrast in form while Cesc Fabregas doesn’t contribute enough defensively. There is quite clearly a lack of balance in the midfield as the midfield options are either too defensive or too attack minded.


Fits the bill

Chelsea currently don’t have a single player who could contribute both in attack, as well as defence. Nainggolan therefore, would be able to cover this for the team. He’s a midfield engine and his energy in the heart of the pitch cannot be understated.

Being a strong physical force, he is not afraid to make strong challenges, and be a great shield or cover for the defence. This is not all that he offers as he possesses a wonderful passing range, the ability to drive forward, link up play with the attackers and helps the transition between defence and attack.

Nainggolan would fit wonderfully at Chelsea as his style of play would suit Conte’s managerial one. His energy, combativeness and physical approach would make him the perfect fit in the Premier League, and especially for Conte’s Chelsea.


Written by Aakriti Mehrotra

Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1

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