UEFA’s financial fair play rules came in last year and with them were the regulations that will prevent teams from spending as much as they previously would.
In England in particular spending will be constrained. Yet there is still business to be done. One player’s signature is particularly hotly coveted, and a decision, according to L’Equipe, will be known this week. Manchester United are looking to wrest back the title from Manchester City, and to do so, they will hope to beat them to the signature of Eden Hazard.
The Belgian is one of the most highly rated players in Europe, and has been courted by all the top teams. United will be confident, but then the player would be set for Real Madrid if they were showing as much interest as the English sides. Zinedine Zidane seems to like him, but the Frenchman would need the consent of Jose Mourinho. Whether he wants another playmaker, on top of Nuri Sahin, who has barely played, and a host of other players including Angel di Maria and Mesut Ozil, would be uncertain.
Then there is Barcelona, who may make a big summer signing. But they are apparently looking at Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, or possibly the Brazilian superstar Neymar or another forward. Robin van Persie may be a more likely target for the Spanish giants.
Which means that it could come down to the English teams, with Hazard already committed to leaving. The prodigious Lille player signed off in style last weekend with a hat trick on his last appearance. Hazard has the skill and ability to become one of the best players in the world, and with the right club, the world is his oyster. Such prodigious close control and skill, yet he will have a big decision to make.
Does he go to Manchester City? They have David Silva and Samir Nasri, and neither of them would take kindly to the arrival of another playmaker who would have to play at such a high price tag. Hazard too, would be wary of going to a team where he may not play regularly. That could sway things United’s way, as they have been missing a playmaker for some time. And Hazard would be an ideal player for them to bring in to liven up their attacking options and give them that something extra they have so frequently missed in recent times.
Chelsea are another option, and they want to make their team more attacking and creative. But can they afford his sky high transfer fee and wages in the age of fiscal responsibility? And will they go for a player who will limit Juan Mata and take away some of his freedom. Tottenham had been at one point considered a strong contender for his signature, but that seems to have gone with their failure to reach the Champions League .
And then there is Arsenal. Would Arsene Wenger pay as much as it will take to bring him to the Emirates? Hazard would probably be guaranteed a starting spot, which he would surely be eager to take advantage of. But then Arsenal have struggled to hold onto players and seem in a semi permanent state of transition.
What is sure, is that whomever Hazard chooses to join, they will have just signed a very, very special player, and possibly pulled off the signing of the close season.