Chelsea FC have a glut of talent spread across Europe in the hope their young stars will eventually prove the outlay their Russian bankroller Roman Abramovich was well spent.
However amongst the Marko Marin’s, Christian Atsu’s and Lucas Piazón’s, perhaps the most promising of the bunch is a name fans of the Premier League will know a lot about: Hazard.
No, not Eden, the 23 year old who cost £32 million from Lille OSC and is fast becoming Belgium’s linchpin on the international level, but his brother who followed him to Chelsea for a much more nominal fee who could prove to be the better piece of business.
Thorgan Hazard is two years his brother’s junior and has spent his two seasons as a Chelsea player in the grateful palms of Zulte Waregem.
The Belgian club has prospered with Hazard as their focal point and came within touching distance of the Belgian league championship, finishing in second place just two points behind Anderlecht in 2012/13.
This prompted the agreement of a second year on loan in Belgium which has seen Hazard’s stock rise again, with Thorgan Hazard voted Zulte’s Player of the season with 16 goals in 48 appearances.
Unfortunately for Hazard II his prospects look a little blocked at Stamford Bridge right now with the likes of brother Eden, Mohamed Salah, Oscar, Willian and André Schürrle ahead in manager José Mourinho’s plans. Some may argue the Chelsea boss doesn’t put his faith in youth as seen by the droves of loanees plying their trade around the world and most notably this summer’s departee Romelu Lukaku being replaced by 36 year old Didier Drogba, a player the former was tipped to replace.
Step forward Borrusia Mönchengladbach after achieving a sixth place finish last season this will give Hazard a chance of proving himself yet again in European competition as well as playing in a league which many say is the most entertaining in Europe. It is a league which averaged 3.05 goals a game last season compared to the Premier League’s 2.77 and over the last five years has averaged the most goals per game across the big four European leagues at 2.94.
Despite Bayern Munich’s unwavering dominance domestically, the league is notably getting stronger with a number of clubs challenging for European places until the last day. It took Bayer Leverkusen until the final match to secure their Champions League place by a point over Wolfsburg and the surprise package of FSV Mainz clinched a Europa League spot by a single point over FC Augsburg.
Gladbach coach Lucien Favre swooped for the 21 year old in a clutch of exciting signings which include USA full back Fabien Johnson and forward André Hahn.
Mourinho has already made a significant trip to Belgium to watch Hazard play last season and if Favre can get the best out of his new man then you may see the Chelsea manager around the North-Rhine Westphalia region a on a number of occasions over the course of the coming season.
As Christian Atsu prepares to join Everton on a season long loan which almost guarantees the Ghanaian increased exposure to the rigours of the Premier League right in view of Mourinho, it will be the duo of Lucas Piazón (on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt) and Thorgan Hazard who have found themselves thrust into one of the most talked-about and galvanized leagues in World football that could be the most gripping battle for the Portuguese tacticians attentions and should go a long way to shaping the Premier League careers of one of these two young men.