EXCLUSIVE: I almost joined Tottenham, reveals Chelsea star Hazard
21:30 GMT, 24 September 2012
Close call: Hazard nearly joined Spurs
Chelsea star Eden Hazard has revealed he came close to joining Tottenham but was put off by their failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Hazard rejected advances from both Manchester clubs before moving to Stamford Bridge from Lille for 32million this summer.
It was seen as a three-way fight but the Belgium forward has spoken for the first time about an attempt by former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp to take him to White Hart Lane to replace Luka Modric.
‘It’s true that Tottenham tempted me because it was a young team which was third in the league,’ Hazard told Tuesday’s France Football.
‘Unfortunately, the end of the season did not go well. They did not reach the Champions League, which tipped the balance.’
Hazard, 21, has played a key role in Chelsea’s start to this campaign but needed convincing that their style of play would change. ‘Nobody was really a fan of Chelsea’s game last season,’ he added.
‘The directors told me they were going to recruit good players with whom I could play decent football. Marko Marin, Oscar and me, we like to have the ball at our feet. Juan Mata likes the ball, so does Ramires. The title of European champions, and Champions League qualification, counted for a lot because the club was not doing well in the league. Once Chelsea won the final, it was a natural choice.’
Options: Four English clubs wanted Hazard
Hazard insists his fee has not been a burden, even after he fell flat on his face attempting a back-heel in the Community Shield. He said: ‘People were saying, “He’s worth 32m He tried a back-heel and fell over!” Even I laughed. In my head I said: “OK, you’ve seen the bad side, now come see the good side”.’