Some things, it seems, are sent to annoy us and simply never go away. That insect that buzzes round your head no matter how many times you flap at it. Or the itch in the part of your back that you just can’t reach to scratch. Or Paris St Germain’s increasingly wild bid to sign Eden Hazard.
Latest reports suggest that the latest figure being waved under Chelsea’s nose is more than £65million. That’s up from about £30million a few months ago, and will doubtless increase exponentially as the summer draws on and the transfer window slowly eases shut.
As yet, there is no sign that Chelsea are even remotely thinking about accepting any Parisian offer for Hazard’s services, but surely there must be some point at which the sum on offer becomes so laughably huge that it would have to be discussed at least. £80million? £100million?? £150million??? It sounds absurd, but when it comes to PSG, we are talking about fantasy money.
Many assumed that the penalties PSG suffered for breaking UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules would force them to adjust their spending habits. This is unlikely however. Under the limits imposed by UEFA, PSG can spend a net £60million this year in transfers. But under football’s accounting rules, transfer fees are amortised for the length of the contract. Which means that if they bought Hazard for, say, £100m on a 5 year contract, only £20m would count as this year’s spending – easily under the spending cap.
The salary cap also imposed as a punishment will, however, be more difficult to get round. PSG cannot increase their wage bill next year, and Hazard will not come cheap. Already Chelsea are offering him a new contract on a reported £200,000 a week – more than £10m a year. PSG would have to match that at least to tempt the Belgian across the Channel, which would almost certainly mean moving on at least one of their top and most highly-paid stars to accommodate him.
There was some talk that Hazard had fallen out with Jose Mourinho in the back end of last season, and it’s true that the two did seem to have a different appreciation of the player’s contribution in some matches, such as the Champions League semi-final. And until now, Hazard has not convincingly batted away the rumours of a switch to PSG, merely saying he was a Chelsea player and wasn’t thinking of his future ahead of the World Cup.
However, if the new contract is not enough, it appears he has also been offered the number 10 shirt for the coming season – the number he has usually worn throughout his career. Why that should turn his head is unclear, but he is now on record as saying he’s looking forward to wearing it next year. That’s as close to a confirmation that he’s staying – at least for one more season – that Chelsea fans are likely to get.
Meanwhile, like that annoying bluebottle that can’t seem to find its way through the window into the outdoors, PSG will undoubtedly be back in a few days time with a new, improved offer. Blues fans who are heartily sick of PSG and their money-no-object bids may be advised to hide away in a cupboard until the end of August. The Qatari-owned side aren’t going to be putting their petro-dollars away any time soon.