Eden Hazard held 'positive meetings' with Tottenham Hotspur back in 2012 before Chelsea completed the signing of the Belgian, according to a new report.
Then just a 21-year-old, Hazard was a highly-rated youngster in Europe, plying his trade for Ligue 1 side LOSC Lille. In the summer of 2012, he attracted the interest from several Premier League clubs. Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea were all showing interest in Hazard.
But after Chelsea's Champions League triumph in Munich against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on penalties, their positioned strengthened after qualifying for the following season's Champions League, as well as subsequently knocking Spurs out of the competition despite them finishing fourth in the Premier League.
Competition for his signature was rife, but shortly after Chelsea's win in Germany, the Belgian confirmed his future.
Chelsea won the race.
Hazard delivered an update on his future on May 28 in 2012, writing: "I'm signing for the champion's league winner."
A couple of days later, Chelsea confirmed the arrival of Hazard to Stamford Bridge. A £32 million fee was paid for the playmaker on a five-year deal worth £100,000-a-week. It was a blockbuster move, but it wasn't without last minute moves in the market.
As the Athletic reveal, Spurs thought they had agreed to sign Hazard ahead of their league rivals after 'positive meetings' with the winger. But Chelsea made a late move after their European glory which saw them win the race.
And the rest is history.
Hazard went onto make 352 appearances for Chelsea, becoming arguably one of the club's greatest ever players technically. He scored 110 times for the Blues, providing 92 assists in the process.
During his long stint in west London which ended in Europa League glory in his final game for the club against Arsenal in Baku back in 2019, the now 30-year-old clinched two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup and two Europa League trophies.
He departed for Real Madrid to complete his 'dream' move in 2019, missing and chasing the elusive Champions League, something Chelsea went onto win last season for the second time in the club's history. Right before Hazard's arrival, and right after his departure. Typical.
Hazard was a joy to watch. Slaloming down the pitch, a terrific sight for the Premier League on a weekly basis. Plucking Chelsea out of trouble with moments of brilliance. He was Chelsea's difference.
If he ended up at Spurs, what could have been - how so different it could have been. But it didn't. He ended up in the Blue part of London, west London. And what a time he had.
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