As Real Madrid prepare for a huge summer of re-grouping, re-building and investing earth-shattering sums in the transfer market, moves for Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba are ill-advised.
Zinedine Zidane’s return to the Bernabeu in March was the beginning of an overhaul which is set to kick into another gear come the end of the season, with elimination from the Champions League and a fall away from domestic supremacy prompting a serious need for change.
Real Madrid confident of signing Paul Pogba & Eden Hazard this summer. Pogba has been criticised for his performances during Manchester United’s recent run of poor form and is set to leave if they fail to qualify for the Champions League
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) April 26, 2019
According to reports, Los Blancos are already well under way with the process of resuscitation, and are ‘confident’ of landing Premier League stars Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba as the pair to be tasked with giving new life to a side which has already flat-lined this season.
Madrid are in clear need of fresh blood, renewed impetus and a significant sprinkling of star dust, and moves for Hazard and Pogba appear clearly designed to meet those ends, with b
Hazard has just one year remaining on his current contract with Chelsea and there is seemingly little to no chance that he will extend his stay at Stamford Bridge, having often appeared frustrated, misused and isolated as the star aloft of a struggling side under Maurizio Sarri.
Meanwhile, Pogba has been the centrepiece of the ongoing soap opera at Old Trafford which saw the Frenchman cast as the pantomime villain of Jose Mourinho’s demise and the scapegoat for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s struggles to maintain the fantasy in his fairytale return.
However, if Madrid may seem to be the promise land for both players to both thrive and cash in at the peak years of their careers, there is also much to suggest that both moves come with significant risks attached for Los Blancos.
Hazard has scored 16 goals in 34 Premier League appearances for the Blues this term, an impressive figure given that Hazard is not an out-and-out centre forward, but has had little of the consistent impact that the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have had for Liverpool.
First player to score 20 Premier League goals in 2017/18: Mohamed Salah
First player to score 20 Premier League goals in 2018/19: Mohamed Salah pic.twitter.com/TE2w50cLeC
— Coral (@Coral) April 26, 2019
The Reds’ star duo have led the way for Jurgen Klopp’s title-chasing side, with Salah topping the Premier League scoring charts with 21 goals, whilst Mane has 20 to his name.
Granted, Hazard plays as part of a Chelsea side which has been generally less productive than their Merseyside counterparts this season.
However, Liverpool’s wingers have set the benchmark for what wide men can achieve by setting the tone for the rest of the side with intensive work rate and making consistently vital contributions, and Hazard has not reached those levels for his side.
At 28 and with only one year remaining on his contract at Stamford Bridge, it is widely suggested that Chelsea would still demand a fee in excess of £100m for his services, and it is difficult to justify such a figure given the Belgian’s age and current situation.
Hazard arguably only has up to four more years left in the tank at the highest level, and Madrid could surely secure a better long-term option for such a high-end transfer fee.
Salah and Mane would perhaps cost even more to prise away from Liverpool, given their heroics at Anfield this term, but Madrid are not a club operating with restricted finances and would surely be better served investing in such players performing at the very top of their game.
Kylian Mbappe would be another option better suited to Madrid’s needs. The Frenchman’s meteoric rise to super-stardom has continued this term, scoring 30 goals in 27 Ligue 1 appearances for PSG.
Still only 20, Mbappe is eight years Hazard’s junior and has the world at his feet. According to Transfermarkt, Mbappe is worth £180m but, with Madrid’s vast resources, that additional £80m on top of Hazard’s fee would be money well spent.
Meanwhile, Pogba remains something of a question mark at Manchester United. Still regarded as one of Europe’s elite midfielders and a World Cup winner, the Frenchman was also somewhat surprisingly named in this season’s PFA Team of the Year.
And this PFA Team of the Year has no Son or EPL top goalscorer Salah but Mr Pogba is there!! 樂樂
Must be a Playstation choice!! pic.twitter.com/g9ISLaaH66
— robertmarawa (@robertmarawa) April 26, 2019
Despite having 13 goals and nine assists to his name from 32 Premier League appearances this term, it is difficult for Madrid to justify hedging their bets on Pogba as one of two key signings to galvanise their faltering side next season.
The Frenchman has been more a figure of controversy and question than a model of consistency and importance for a struggling Manchester United setup this term and, having cost the Red Devils £89m in 2016, he would likely set Madrid back at least as much as Hazard.
Having been regularly questioned over his work ethic and commitment to the cause at Old Trafford, Pogba hardly seems the kind of signing which is required to boost Zidane’s quest for a resilient renaissance at the Bernabeu next season.
Madrid have also been consistently linked with a potential move for Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen, who would seemingly be an alternative option to Pogba.
With seven league goals and 12 assists to his name this term, Eriksen’s stats are comparable to those of Pogba’s this term, but the manner in which he goes about his work sets the Dane apart.
Unlike Pogba, Eriksen has often taken games by the scruff of the neck and made the difference for his side, regardless of the performances of those around him, and his importance was epitomised by his recent last gasp winner against Brighton.
When Spanish tv asked Christian Eriksen about possible Real Madrid interest, he laughed and just walked off.
Mauricio Pochettino avoided the question too. #thfc #coys pic.twitter.com/3wyJgcrYTW
— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) April 18, 2019
Madrid are in need of significant reinforcement next season to guide them back to the summit of European football and to regain their footing at the top of La Liga, but must invest carefully in the kinds of players whose performance and application levels would meet the club’s demands.
Hazard and Pogba are undoubtedly world class players with the abilities to out-match any in the game. However,