Matthew Dunn draws a veil over the final weekend of Premier League action and assesses what needs to happen at each of Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal after the 2020/21 season.
For a man who has pulled off such miracles should surely be able to teach Timo Werner the offside law?
Provided he is given more time to develop without expectation, Christian Pulisic could begin to fill the chasm let by Eden Hazard.
Thomas Tuchel is very particular about who he gets to lead his line – just ask Tammy Abraham, who cannot get a kick there.
Perhaps we could see him reignite the fiery union he had at PSG with Kylian Mbappe. He describes the France international as a “shark” and he will need somebody with his qualities if he is to hunt down the trophies Roman Abramovich will be demanding.
Where to begin? Well, a manager would be a start. Now the season is over, the only reason Daniel Levy has got not to move swiftly and decisively is if he has lined up Belgium manager Roberto Martinez as the new boss.
Waiting till the end of the Euros would be a disaster – not that Harry Kane’s future will be decided at anything lower than board level.
If the money is there – whether that’s £100m, £120m or anything else – Levy owes it to his talisman to accept it.
Goodness knows the new manager needs funds from somewhere for a complete overhaul of some of the supporting structures.
The thing is Spurs still potentially have world-class players in some key positions – Son Heung-Min, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, a rejuvenated Dele Alli and the evergreen Hugo Lloris.
But the centre of defence is no longer fit for purpose, indeed the entire back four needs to be better if Spurs are to finish in the top four.
Then they need the creative talent to replace Kane the scorer and Kane the supplier.
It’s not going to be easy and Spurs rather wasted the £85m windfall they got for Gareth Bale in 2013
This is make or break time for the whole Tottenham project.
No Europe, no excuses for Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard keeps on about how the improvements are occurring behind the scenes. Well, the players will be behind the scenes more than ever next season with no midweek football.
He has some good young players at his disposal – the pressure is on to turn them into outstanding ones.
Thomas Partey needs to be settled in, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs to rediscover his touch and then – and only then – the board need to get a few signings right to turn Arsenal into outside contenders for the top four again.
That is the measure of how far they are away right now.
Real Madrid fans have called for ex-Chelsea hero Eden Hazard to leave after he was seen laughing on the pitch after the Blues ousted his current side from the Champions League on an awkward night for Zinedine Zidane.
Belgium playmaker Hazard made a rare start for Madrid at Stamford Bridge, where he shone for Chelsea before leaving for the Spanish giants in a mega deal almost two years ago that could be worth as much as $ 209 million.
Aside from testing goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in the second half, Hazard was anonymous by the standards he set during his time in London, doing little to prevent Madrid from slumping out of the semifinals with a 2-0 defeat on Wednesday.
Worse was to come as footage emerged of Hazard cheerfully congratulating Chelsea players on the pitch afterwards, embracing his opponents at a time when many supporters felt he should have been keeping a low profile after a drab display from the 13-time winners and his latest underwhelming showing in a hugely underperforming spell in Spain so far.
“Eden has to play,” coach Zidane said afterwards, facing pressure over his questionable tactics and the decision to field a player who has provided no assists and only three goals in 18 appearances this season. “He has to regain his confidence, little by little, by playing.”
❗️| “Hazard at the end of the game is unacceptable. We are angry, we don’t understand him. He can not stay at Real Madrid for another second.”@elchiringuitotv
Club legend Sergio Ramos was making an even rarer appearance, although his out-of-sorts performance fueled rumors that he was unfit and had played on the basis of Real Madrid’s terrible record without him in crucial matches.
“We played a semifinal and the players were prepared,” insisted Zidane. “If they played, it means that they were prepared. We can be proud of my players. We have tried and we have come this far, one step away from the final.
I said it, Hazard was playing for us. See him laughing with Zouma after the match🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙 pic.twitter.com/1qx0crtAkM
— Chelsea Babe(Chelsea will win CL & FA cup) (@debbie_chelsea) May 5, 2021
“Chelsea played a great game and qualified and they are to be congratulated. We can say that they deserved the victory. We tried, but in the end they deserved to win and go through.”
Some angry Madrid fans said their patience with the injury-prone star had ended. “Hazard at the end of the game is unacceptable,” said one.
The Real Madrid Shirt is white. It can be stained by sweat, mud, or even blood but never with shame.Hazard never understood this before this. pic.twitter.com/kbP5amLIcc
Zidane has won the Champions League three times with Madrid, but his future could now rest on whether his side can retain their Liga title, with a run of four final league fixtures in two weeks starting on Sunday.
Madrid are level on points with Barcelona and two behind city rivals Atletico, having won two of their last four league matches while drawing the other two 0-0.
Chelsea booked their place in the final of the Champions League thanks to goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount in a 3-1 win on aggregate. Eden Hazard had been hoping to turn to the tide for Real Madrid, but it was a night to forget for Los Blancos.
Eden Hazard was made to regret his comments about Real Madrid’s credentials after they were beaten by Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals.
The Blues will face Premier League rivals Manchester City in this month’s Istanbul final after a pretty tame fight from Real on Wednesday night was powerless to stop goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount proved to be the difference.
The tie hung in the balance going into the second leg at Stamford Bridge, with Real’s talented wide men Hazard and Vinicius Junior always capable of creating something out of nothing.
But as the game wore on, it became more and more clear that it would not be a happy return to west London for Hazard.
The Belgian winger left Chelsea for Real just shy of two years ago in a £100m+ switch.
Shortly after he became another Galactico, he explained that his dream had always been to play in the famous white of Real Madrid.
“My dream was always to play for Real Madrid, the greatest team in the world, and so far I’m happy,” he explained after two months in the Spanish capital.
However, on undoubtedly the biggest night of his Real career, he was powerless to stop Chelsea moving one step closer to becoming champions of Europe.
Of course, Hazard has struggled greatly with injuries during his Real career, having barely missed more than a few games for Chelsea.
But he has been a mere shadow of the player that was comfortably the best in the Premier League on his day during his time with the Blues.
There is still time for Hazard to turn things around with Los Blancos, and he could certainly start by firing them to La Liga glory to make up for their European heartbreak.
Hazard also explained in that interview in 2019 that talks with Thibaut Courtois and Luka Modric persuaded him to chase his dream of joining Real.
Chelsea go into the final four clash as the underdogs, attempting to make their first Champions League final since 2012 and has urged his players to be themselves when they line-up against the Spanish champions.
On how they will beat Los Blancos, he added: “Be ourselves. Rely on our strengths and do the things that make you confident.
“We have these things as a team and this is what we try to do at the best level.
“The challenge is to be ourselves, the best version of ourselves, for 90 or 94 minutes against Madrid.”
Manchester United have had some of the biggest and best players to ever grace the game don their kit.
David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are just some of the famous names to play at Old Trafford.
And at the helm was Sir Alex Ferguson – who sat in the dugout for 27 years and oversaw the most successful period for any English club in history.
Along with 13 Premier League wins were a collection of FA Cups, League Cups and Champions League trophies.
Fergie’s prowess in the transfer market is well-documented but even the great Scotsman made mistakes.
Here are the 10 that got away.
1. Sergio Aguero
It is hard to remember a time when Aguero was not ripping apart defences for Manchester City but a move to the red half of the city was on the cards in 2011.
The Argentine was making a name for himself as a teenager at Atletico Madrid as clubs registered an interest.
Ultimately, Ferguson decided £35m was too much to spend on a youngster unproven in the Premier League.
Just the 257 goals for City…
2. Eden Hazard
While at Lille, Hazard was one of the most sought-after players in the world but only the two Manchester clubs were in the running.
But in 2012, the mercurial Belgian announced to the world on Twitter he was joining Chelsea to leave Fergie stunned.
The Scotsman blamed agent fees – which he insisted rose to £6m – a price he was not willing to pay, and Wilfried Zaha signed instead.
3. Raphael Varane
The Real Madrid defender has been linked with a move to United almost every summer since he was born but the closest he has ever come to finally donning the red shirt was in 2011.
When the Frenchman was at Lens, he was the talk of the town with United and Real Madrid keen – who Zinedine Zidane was a director for at the time.
“I hurtled down on the train from Euston to Lille to sign the young French defender Raphael Varane,” Ferguson wrote in his book Leading.
“David Gill was getting into the finer points of the contract with Lens when Zinedine Zidane got wind of this and somehow scooped him up for Real Madrid from under our noses.”
4. Gareth Bale
When the Welshman burst onto the scene at Southampton, not even he could have envisaged the career he would go to have.
But it could have been all so different had he chosen United over Tottenham, with former Saints boss George Burley meeting Sir Alex to discuss a transfer in a hotel.
The Red Devils did not stump up the funds, however, and were concerned with his defensive prowess.
5. Samir Nasri
The former France international had a colourful time in the Premier League with the likes of Arsenal, City and West Ham but a move to United was on the cards.
Fergie met Nasri in a secret location in Paris while he was with the Gunners and the winger told BeIn Sports in 2015: “We met with Sir Alex in Paris, in a hidden place, out of sight, so as not to fuel the rumours.
“But there was one thing that was a problem; I was asked to go to war with Arsenal to be able to join. I could not see myself doing it, especially with Arsene Wenger.”
6. Aaron Ramsey
Sir Alex admitted Ramsey was “the one that got away” in a debrief with some of the best coaches in the world in 2014.
Now at Juventus, the Welshman looks set to return to the Premier League just two years after leaving Arsenal.
The midfielder signed for the Gunners back in 2008 over United.
7. Arjen Robben
Chelsea fans remember Robben fondly for his short but sweet spell under Jose Mourinho before joining Real Madrid in 2007.
But the Dutchman has admitted he would have signed for United – had they offered him a contract.
“I had a very good conversation with him [Ferguson] over dinner in Manchester and we spoke about football and life,” Robben told FourFourTwo magazine.
“I also went and had a good look around the training ground and everything was good, but after I went back to PSV nothing happened.
In an alternative reality, Ronaldinho would have donned the iconic No. 7 shirt instead of Ronaldo at United.
Paul Scholes revealed the Brazilian was a signature away from joining but opted for Barcelona at the last moment, which paved the way for Ronaldo’s arrival from Sporting Lisbon weeks later.
He said: “We were all excited – Ronaldinho, what a player! I think he was coming from PSG at the time and we were all going to get to play with him and he’s going to bring something special.”
9. Alan Shearer
It is one of the biggest ‘what ifs?’ in English football – what if Shearer joined United? – and the answer would have been likely terrifying for everyone else.
Ferguson tried to sign the striker on two occasions, failing both times, as he joined Blackburn and then Newcastle instead.
“Of course I was tempted to join Manchester United, but I do not regret either decision,” he told The Sun.
10. Paul Gascoigne
When it comes to unbridled genius on the pitch, there are not many than Gazza – and Ferguson was desperate to sign the maverick in 1988.
“Can I go on holiday, knowing that I’ve signed you?” he asked him, and was given assurances that a deal was done.
But while enjoying some sunshine, Fergie would read that Gascoigne had gone back on their verbal agreement and signed for Tottenham instead for £2.2m – a record at the time.
The United boss was so aggrieved he sent the midfielder a letter him a “silly boy” while also lamenting him for “turning down the biggest club in the world.”
Serious questions are being asked as to the efficacy of Real Madrid’s medical team after record signing Eden Hazard picked up his ELEVENTH injury in less than two seasons with the Spanish giants last weekend.
Hazard was plucked from the Premier League to become Real Madrid’s latest ‘Galactico’ prior to the start of last season after seven largely successful seasons with Chelsea, but what was initially a dream move for the Belgian maestro has turned into something more resembling a nightmare after repeated injury misery has limited his appearances to just 36 over the course of his spell at the Bernabeu to date. Also on rt.comPoor taste? Burger King SAVAGELY trolls injury-hit Hazard by joking he missed training to take advantage of 2-for-1 offer
The Belgian, who is Real Madrid’s all-time most expensive signing, made his first appearance since January from the bench during Madrid 2-1 against Elche on Saturday but just when it seemed that Hazard was clear of the treatment table, head coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed in a press conference Monday that Hazard has suffered another setback, this time a “muscle injury in the right pelvis“.
It was clear from the presser that Zidane was as mystified as anyone about Hazard’s injury woes. He indicated that there are “things I cannot explain” in relation to the player’s continued fitness troubles – even suggesting that Hazard’s mindset could be a factor, saying that his problems might be connected to “things up here in the head, which influences a lot“.
Real Madrid have ruined Eden Hazard. Man played in the most physical league for 7 years getting fouled more than anyone else but rarely got injured, now he can’t stay fit for 5 minutes. Eden deserved better than this..
— Conn (@ConnCFC) March 15, 2021
Madrid don’t know that hazard never trained at Chelsea 😭 he would rock about in training doing whatever he wanted and then body defenders at the weekendGET HIM BACK pic.twitter.com/sAgM6DDw9E
— NotSouthgate (@CFCMoneyMase_) March 15, 2021
Hazard has been restricted to just 14 first team appearances this season and 36 in total since his €100 million move from Stamford Bridge. The contrast between his spell at Chelsea and in Madrid is stark; he was rarely injured in seven seasons in West London. In Madrid, the opposite has become true.
“Like always I try to stay positive and hope it will be a little thing,” Zidane explained. “Something is happening. He is a player who was never injured in his career. We want to help him.”
However, a clearly aggravated Zidane grew weary when attention turned to the Real Madrid medical steam who, for one reason or another, have been unable to nurse the player to full health for any prolonged period.
“I don’t think there is a problem, we have very competent people here, who are close to the players every day,” Zidane shot back.
“We are trying to find out what is happening with the injured players, there are things that happen in football. We have spoken about the pre-season, about the number of games.” Also on rt.com‘Impossible to follow Ronaldo’: Real Madrid fans react after Hazard handed iconic no. 7 jersey
Whatever the reason for his fitness problems, it is difficult to describe Hazard’s Real Madrid stint as anything other than a disaster up to this point. He was drafted into the team with a flawless reputation following his time with Chelsea, where he was a four-time Player of the Year.
So impressive was he towards the end of his Chelsea career that many observers predicted that he was poised to take over the mantle from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – but this is a prophecy that looks to continue being unfulfilled as the superstar Belgian’s injury woes continue.