Occupational Hazard: Mourinho masterstroke over new Chelsea deal
Chelsea, odds-on 8/11 favourites to win the Premier League and an industry best price of 7/1 to lift the Champions League with Coral, are close to agreeing a new contract for Belgium star Eden Hazard.
The 23-year-old has three years left to run on his current deal at Stamford, but he has also been linked with French champions PSG and European Cup holders Real Madrid.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho was bullish about tying Hazard down to an improved and longer deal. “It’s a question of time, one more month, but we will end up with a new contract,” he said. “He wants to stay and commit for many years.
“We think he can and we are very proud that he thinks Chelsea is the perfect environment for him to have that evolution. We have big hopes that he will go from a top player to reach higher levels.”
Thanks to strong summer recruitment, namely the captures of ex-Arsenal captain and former Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, and fellow Spain international Diego Costa to lead the Blues’ attack, Chelsea have taken firm command of the Premier League title race.
A perfect start of four wins has opened up a five-point lead for Mourinho over reigning champions Manchester City. The link-up between Costa and Fabregas has been central to this impressive form, with many of the former’s seven goals set up by the latter.
Hazard has taken something of a backseat to these headline grabbers, which may explain a return of one goal this term so far. Mourinho clearly doesn’t view the Belgian as having diminished status, however, and getting a player tipped to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu to stay on at the Bridge instead is a clear indication of this.
What we’re seeing from ‘the Special One’ is evidence of some long-term planning, with new number one Thibaut Courtois recently tied down to a new deal. In French man-mountain Kurt Zouma, Mourinho has a readymade replacement for Blues skipper John Terry that should be up to the rough and tumble of the Premier League.
Other defensive and midfield options are all under contract for plenty of time so, with Loic Remy signed as backup to Costa, there is clearly a Chelsea team in place for years to come. Domestic dominance could follow. What price on Mourinho steering his side to be champions of England and Europe? It’s 11/1 on that double.