In-demand Lille forward Eden Hazard has alerted clubs around Europe by admitting that he wants to leave the French champions at the end of the season.
Hazard, 20, has been strongly linked with Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in the past – with other clubs in England and Spain also believed to have followed the Belgium international’s progress intently.
Despite being tipped for a move abroad last summer Hazard decided to remain at Stade Lille-Metropole to experience Champions League football with his current club, but he has now made it clear that he wants a new challenge at the end of the current campaign.
“I am ready to go to the next level at a big club,” Hazard told French newspaper L’Equipe. “I won’t leave in January. It would be silly to do so. But it’s my last season at Lille.
“I stayed with Lille this year because I still had things to work on and prove. But now I’m ready. I feel able to play in another country.”
Hazard has also previously been linked with Real Madrid, and he boosted their hopes of negotiating a transfer by making it clear he has no intention of staying in Ligue 1 – despite the fact Qatari-backed Paris Saint Germain are reportedly prepared to pay around £35 million to secure his signature.
“Paris is not for now,” he added. “Paris is magical, as they say. Of course it attracts me. But for now, no, I will not go there.
“I do not want to go to a rival of Lille’s in France. It would be inconsistent. The fans would not understand.”
Long touted as one of the most exciting prospects in European football, Hazard is less certain he deserves all the praise he has received since emerging on the scene as a 16-year-old.
“Sometimes I think it’s a little too … ‘Eden did this, Eden did that’ … Do I deserve all this praise? I do not know. It’s nice, but I do not pay too much attention either,” he said.
If you haven’t seen Hazard in action before, check him out…