Hazard, golden boy or not?

By Walter Broeckx

Buy Hazard. How many times a day do you hear this being said by a Gooner? And how many times do you see it written down by a Gooner? Is it 10 times a day or is it 100 times a day? It will be somewhere in between I say.

So let me try to give you some more information about him and also maybe spell out a small warning about Hazard.

So Eden Hazard is 20 years old, born on 7th January 1991 in La Louvière and this is situated in the French speaking part of Belgium. He started his career at his local club RS Brainois and then went to Tubize a mostly 2nd or 3rd division club who played one season in the Jupiler (Premier) league in recent years. Then the scouts of Lille (in France as there is also a little village in Flanders with the same name as some Liverpool fans have found out) saw him play and brought him over. Lille is not far from the Belgium border so from where he lived it was not that far away.

The father of Hazard was also a football player in his younger days for La Louviere and he played most of his career in the Belgium second division as a midfielder. And his mother also was a football player in her days. He also has a younger brother Thorgan (17 years) who is also very talented.  He is playing for Lens for the moment and another younger brother Kylian who will go to Lille when he turns 16 later this year. So a bit of a football family.

And to make the family complete on 18 December 2010 Eden Hazard became a father of Yannis. Hazard was only 19 at the time. So if he comes over he will have a common thing with Jack to talk about.

So that’s the family,  but what about the football? Well he has been voted twice to the most talented player in the Ligue 1 in the last seasons. And this at the age of 18 and 19 years old. Not a bad thing I would say. He has been named in the team of the season by L’Equipe. Also not bad for a player of his age.

He has played some 132 games for Lille so far (a very high number for a player of his age) and in those games he has scored 25 goals and this is also not a bad thing for a player of his age.

And besides scoring he also gives as many assists if not more than he scores. This season so far 5 goals and 7 assists in 28 games.

So what is keeping Wenger from reaching for this pocket and write the cheque? Well because as most things in life and like any coin has two sides there is also the other side of Eden Hazard.

Let us start with his performances at Lille. At the start of the season he played like a pale imitation of himself. He seemed uninterested, nonchalant. In fact the Lille manager at one moment put him on the bench to let him know that if he carried on like that he wouldn’t play. He then also admitted (if we can believe the press) that he found it difficult to motivate himself at the time. But for Lille he came back and he has a big and  influential part of them being first in Ligue 1.

For a player with his talent it is interesting that he isn’t yet a regular in the Belgium national team. When he has started he usually disappointed and in his 19 appearances for the national team he hasn’t scored a goal. So he cannot impose himself on the international stage. And in the Belgium national team players like Chadli (“who” I hear you say?) and Dembele (yes from Fulham) are chosen to start and not Hazard.

The rest of the world doesn’t understand why it is that Hazard is waiting on the bench but again there is a bit of attitude problem going on.

The former national team manager Dick Advokaat wanted to throw Hazard out of the national team if he kept on training like he did. And again the same words: “nonchalant” and “disinterested” were used. The assistant coach of the national team Wilmots convinced Advokaat to have a bit more patience with Hazard but he couldn’t make it as a regular starter.

And now under the new coach Georges Leekens it is still difficult for Hazard to get in the starting line up. And assistant Wilmots has explained that if Hazard wants to start in the national team he not only needs to make run forwards but he has to start working for the team. He has to start to defend. He must work harder when his team doesn’t have the ball. Not just stand still and look at how the others defend and then wait to make an action when he gets the ball delivered at his feet.

So for all the gold that seems to be shining for Hazard you also must take notice of his flaws in his game. It seems that he takes it a bit easy at times.

The good thing is that this is something that can be corrected. He is still very young and with a manager that gives him the message of working harder or you won’t play (like his coach at Lille did) it can work.  He started playing better and better since being dropped to the bench a few times. For the Belgium national team it hasn’t worked yet as there are other players who play and are doing a good job and working their socks off.

So yes I would like it if Arsenal bought Hazard but I would be holding my breath to see which Hazard we will see. Will it be the hard working one or will we see a lazy player on the pitch who let his team mates do the hard work and just stands their and watch them run? We know how some fans dislike Arshavin for his body language and nonchalant strolling around the pitch at times. Well maybe Hazard can be compared with Arshavin at times. But as Arshavin is a player who is at the end of his peak, Hazard is still very young and can improve on that part of his game.

Now as a final note on the Belgium national team: their behaviour when it comes to injured players. We know by know that the Belgium national team knew that Vermaelen was already injured before the game against Turkey. They still played him and as a result we have lost him for the whole season. One would think they would learn from this. No, they just carry on like they did. Because now Van Buyten is injured and out for Bayern Munich and our national team manager admitted that they knew Van Buyten was already injured before the game but they took the risk.  So once again this shows that the managers of the national teams have no respect for the teams who are paying the wages of their players. Disgusting.

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33 Replies to “Hazard, golden boy or not?”

  1. Walter Id still like to see him come I think with a father figure like Wenger he would get the best out of him.
    Im not sure he would be the difference in winning trophies or not though.

    Clubs need to take legal action against countrys when managers admit to playing injured players and taking gambles unless the countrys FA are willing to pay the wages and compensation for possible loss of points.

  2. Why spend €20 plus million on Hazard when you can buy Young. He is tried and tested in the Priemership its a no brainer?????

  3. I’m not sure that a Hazard-type is what we really need at this moment, but I wouldn’t say no to such a talented player. Personally I feel we have enough creative, ‘matchwinner’ types and a functional, driven, athletic midfielder would be more valuable to the squad. Particularly when Denilson’s completely lost his confidence and Diaby’s injuries seem to be never-ending. We’ve been quite lucky that neither Song or Wilshere have missed extended periods of time, we might not be so fortunate next season.

  4. Good article Walter. I feel we need a player in his mould for the squad in the inside forward position. At the moment it’s Arshavin, THeo and NAsri but with the latter often covering Cesc it could be a good move. Ramsey’s return to fitness could mean someone like Rosicky moves on to part fund the move

  5. I think that eden is very good footballer and he has skils, speed and good shot. GENIUS !

  6. Walter- i think the many arguements that you have made, though they are correct, but are not valid arguements. Let me give you an example, Wellingtion Silva – said to be a future superstar, atleast in Arsenal blogs. What has been his problem? The same as Hazard’s. But still Arsenal signed him. Hazard atleast has proven that he’s got talent which he consistently shows. Also just bcoz you are not in the starting 11 of the national team, doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. The best examples of that is our very own Walcott and Nasri who didn’t get selected for the world cup even. The best way to judge him is what he has done till now and that is to be the best young creative winger in the world today. Just remember, he’s still just 19!! How many players do you know that has achieved so much at the age of 19??!! Not even Walcott and Nasri have…

  7. I don’t think we need Hazard next season as I reckon there is enough quality coming through the ranks to not buy.

    Walter – I am so suprised that Belgium risked playing their national captain in a meaningless friendly when they knew he was injured before the game. I reckon the Danish FA did the same with Bendtner last year.

    It raises questions about a national FA doctor’s having the final say on whether a player is fit or not, since they have the authority to declare a player fit even when a club doctor has said otherwise. Something has to change.

  8. John – young plays well in short bursts, but doesn’t really do it over a season. He has pace and good delivery but nothing of the skill level of hazard who has excellent close control (as well as good delivery and a bit of pace). Given that young would probably cost about the same, maybe even more, I think you are right, it is a no-brainer.

    The one thing I will say is that I really think we suffer at times from having a too many players who aren’t self-motivating. Maybe hazard would be different if he made the move, but I really think this is the problem with a couple of players, particularly denilson. He has more than enough talent to do a good job for us, but he only ever seems to show his best form against Utd or barcelona.
    At most other clubs, I think the managers make much more of an effort to motivate the players and get them fired up, whereas wenger gives the players a lot of freedom to figure it out for themselves.

  9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDBvEnxkTJo

    This was a goal he scored in a title deciding match between Lille (1st) and Marseille (2nd) so he can handle the big occasions. He was by far the best player on the pitch and reminded me a bit of a faster version of zidane skipping around players on the pitch. Definitely one to look out for. I also hear zidane wants to take him to Real Madrid!

  10. What I have seen of him he doesnt excite me, the amount of belgium players playing at a high level surprises em no offence walter, it is compliment because they have some decent players.

    I thought to myself the other day that wenger has stopped buying african players (exception of Chamkh), I dont know if this is conscious thing because of african nations cup, or a lack of quality around,but ghana kind of squash that argument

    One thing is clear in my mind more due diligence needs to be carried out when medicals are done, a one off season of freakish injuries is bad luck but this just shows a pattern

  11. Walter, that was a nice blog. But i will love it if u could do same blog on mertsacker.

  12. still, asking for him shows so little balance in the average arsenal fan’s thought process.

    from what i gather wenger is out this summer because of his foolish faith in youth, yet hazard is the answer.

    i wish the fans in london would move out and go support a different team. there are fans and supporters all over the world who struggle 100x more than us.

  13. @ dark prince,wellington had the altitude problem after it was sure he would be an arsenal player not before and the reason for this problem is adapting to a new environment in spain. It is funny how some arsenal fans just want to see new faces in the team without a care if the player will be good. Hazard is a talented player just like the ones at arsenal. If he comes,it will still need teamwork to get a trophy.

  14. i think while hazard is good he is a bit overrated and also weak.
    a better option would be hulk of porto and while were at it we should sign falcao , he reminds me of eduardo 🙂

  15. He said in an interview recently that he wanted to go to Spain, by which I’d imagine he meant Barca or Real. Not sure that he’s good enough for them, so he might come to us as third choice, but do we really want to spend 20+ million on a player with a reputation for not always working his hardest who’s said he would prefer to be somewhere else? Anyway, if we’re going to spend big money, wouldn’t we be better getting a striker? That’s what we lack, now we’ve lost Ade and Eduardo, a finisher, someone who can convert the chances we create.

  16. I haven’t seen him play at all, so I cannot comment on what would be the right thing to do. One thing I will say though, that a big name signing, CAN have a positive effect beyond the performances on the pitch.. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should buy a ‘star’ player for insane amounts of money, just for the sake of it. I’m not sure if Hazard even is that much of a star player. I’m just saying that sometimes, a big name, can galvanise the team, and definitely some of the fans..

    I do tend to agree with people above that we don’t really need Hazard, or a player in his position. I believe a striker and a RB are more important positions. We should buy Hazard only if he is an exceptional talent. In that regard, I trust Wenger’s judgment.

  17. nuri sahin played close to a 100 games and scored half a dozen to a dozen goals and mostly from defensive midfield/holding role. he’s another player i’d rate. the football world needs to stop kidding itself with too many quick fix solutions though. it’s evident that we do need some support and i do believe that eden hazard is most definitely stepping in the right direction i would seriously like to see us advocate a little height in there. i don’t think it goes without saying that diaby and rosicky both don’t look like they’ll survive another season. i’d be surprised if denilson and bendtner stick around too once vela comes back from loan (especially ‘cos he made all that fuss getting the #11 jersey from vp). i the the difference between the two obviously is hazard can essentially play a lot more central to vela and can also drop back quite a bit too.

    what i think we really need to address is HAVING TOO MANY players. ramsey, rosicky, walcott, nasri, wilshere, song, denilson, diaby, frimpong and arsharvin and eboue sorta count too. that isn’t even including ones like conor henderson who’ve got pitch time are like the mccrackens (sp?) of chelski… they still manage to get 15+ subs whilst players like henderson never mature. wenger never really had a kid scheme in my eyes. he’s always had a somewhat mature lineup in terms of games played. this is what served him really well. now that he’s spreading it out (AND NOT PLAYING TWO FORWARDS!) players only get limited pitch time. i can see how someone like bendtner and arsharvin can be frustrated as we don’t really have a team ethic to bring these x-factor-types in the game. bendtner scored more late goals than i care to remember and when arsharvins pumped up by his team and crowd he starts doing great. it’s just when the cheers turn to gasps and oos and ahhs and SENIOR!!! members of the squad like van persie, clichy, almunia, etc aren’t doing much well there’s not a lot those oddballs can help with.

    ah well. I HOPE WE SIGN LLORIS AND PASTORE just ‘cos Pastores been my favourite player all season and I feel he’s better than fabregas or at least can be re: stats and also LLORIS who i’ve been a long time fan of. i’ve seen him make mistakes but i’ve seen every keep in the world do the same too!

  18. The latest theme seems to be that we need ‘experienced’ players and winners (so Charlie Sheen should be a contender) and I do feel there is some truth to this. Hazard would be a bit of a punt at the moment – especially with the rather inflated price-tag.

    It is clear there should be some thinning of the herd over the summer and this should be a good thing if done well.

    I have lost patience with Denilson – he hasn’t really pushed on and seems to have lost enthusiasm and confidence. Bendtner is almost certain to leave.

    Back up is needed for Song in midfield. I see Frimpong is set to play for the reserves tomorrow night – perhaps he is ready to step up but it’s a big call to make.

    Then we will need another striker and maybe another central defender.

    Thats should do it – the point is drastic surgery is not needed here, just a tweak or two.


  20. i wouldn’t judge his national team performances too harsly. I don’t really know how well Belgium goes at national level, but i’d imagine like every other small european nation such as Wales (Aaron Ramsey), that Belgium would rarely score goals let alone have players like Hazard scoring goals and having big impact on matches. throw him into a Spain or England and Hazard might do better is my point.

  21. Good morning Gooners,

    Lets not forget this boy is only 20 and ply his trade in a ligue that is not challenging as EPL and for that reason I will really want to see this boy in red and white of Arsenal shirts. he is the type of player who can turn the game at any time given the fact that at Arsenal we have the likes of Nasri, Walcott, J Wilshere, Van Persie to take the pressure of him. so lets not analyse what his national team are saying about him but look for what this boy can give to Arsenal. we need players who wants to play and win, players with that attitude of winning. when last did you see a player at Arsenal fighting for the ball and end up getting it? it shows that the current team is not up to that level and should be axed from this team.

    Enjoy the rest of the day Gooners

    We’ll smile one day coz we always keep the faith.

    South African Gooner all the way

  22. Thanks for the info on Hazard ,Walter -I’ve never seen him play nor have I read anything about him -except on the site.From what you’ve written it would be a big risk to buy him and I don’t think that he is the answer.We need someone to inspire this team to further exertions- to move up a couple of gears .
    If we don’t buy ,I hope that young JW continues his progress and becomes that inspiration .Frimpong too did impress at the begining of the season- he was strong in challenges and his overplay was good.Hope he is the “find” of next season.
    In the meantime lets keep looking for the ideal midfield player- a cross between Roy Keame and Steven Gerrad or lets steal Essien from Chelski.

  23. As a person born and bred in highbury,please refer to all pubs in the area by their proper names i.e the AULD TRIANGLE is THE PLIMSOLL ARMS.

  24. I would say the one thing we dont need is another squad member we need a first teamer someone who is going to improve the first 11 otherwise we should just rely on the youth coming through

  25. John Roberto – you are quite right The Plimsoll Arms, whose first ever landlord in the 1890s or somewhere around then had the most wonderful name Ezra Albert Pilgrim.

    The problem with proper names meaning original names is that I should be supporting Dial Square FC, although there are arguments to say that maybe I should be with Royal Arsenal. Although I could say that the name of the first professional team Woolwich Arsenal should be the name of my club. It was of course The Arsenal for a year or so…

    In case you (not John, but everyone else) are bemused, the Plimsoll was so called because that’s the road it is in, and it is the inspiration for the Toppled Bollard stories that I wrote years ago, before starting Untold. This is getting highly eccentric (to mention the Bollard) but in case you have nothing to do, venture into http://www.blog.toppled.info and you will find some of the old timers there.

  26. I think we should only go for Hazard if we sell Fabregas because that means can be the playmaker and would free up space on the wings for Hazard & Oxlade-Chamberlain if we get them and Walcott & Arshavin. I think we need a Goalie and a Striker that can compete with Van Persie much more than another Midfielder. I’m suggesting we get Maarten Stekelenburg & Kevin Gameiro. We should sell Denilson, Squillaci, Almunia & Bendtner. Then we can have space for new signings or some of our young Gunners like JET, Lansbury & Frimpong to come up.

  27. He’d mix well with disinterested, unmotivated players like Sammy Nasri, Alex Song, Denilson, Diaby, Arshavin…. Hazard’s definitely got Arsenal DNA!

  28. buy a star..a star like rocky rocastle that can lift up team mates spirit..imho

  29. well i see hazzard quiet a few time play and he is by far the best attacking midfield in france.Well when lille lost him for few match they were struggling in attack .
    true like alot few young player he need a little kick in the butt sometime ,but under a good stewardship he will become world class no doubt.he remind me of pires more skillfull and more pace. he will be worth evry penny of 2o M

  30. Hello, I am from the future and this comment thread is funny.

    Neymar for 20m euros?

    And Hazard isn’t all that apparently.


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