By Rob Parrish
Eden Hazard has revealed he took the advice of Joe Cole before electing to make the switch to Chelsea from Lille.
The Belgium international will join the Stamford Bridge club for pre-season training in July after a deal was struck for his services, with a reported £32million transfer fee due to change hands.
Hazard has passed a medical and will put pen-to-paper on a five-year contract worth a reputed £170,000 per week having finally settled on his destination for next season after flirting with a number of Europe’s leading clubs.
The 21-year-old, who can operate in a variety of attacking positions, played alongside former Chelsea midfielder Cole in Ligue 1 this season, with the England international on a season-long loan from Liverpool.
And it appears his words of advice have helped persuade one of the most highly-rated young players in Europe make the switch to the UEFA Champions League winners.
Hazard told the club’s official website: “I spoke to Joe Cole and what he said above all was that Chelsea was the right club for me.
“As somebody who loves the club himself, he said he could really see me in the shirt, so when I see him next I’ll tell him he was right.
“I watched the Champions League Final like everybody else. It puts a bit more pressure on the players who are already here but they’re used to it, and I think I’m pretty good at coping under pressure.
“It’s true that initially there were a number of clubs in for me. It was a complicated decision with lots of different factors involved, but the fact that they have great players and are European champions, also coming to London, I know people here already and there are a few French speakers, I think I have made the right decision.”
Hazard has laid out his ambitions for the new season and has set his sights on adding more silverware to Chelsea’s trophy cabinet after a campaign which threatened to implode under Andre Villas-Boas eventually ended with European and FA Cup glory with Roberto di Matteo in interim charge.
Dream come true
“Chelsea had a great season even if we didn’t do very well in the league,” he added. “By anybody’s standards, winning two cups is a great achievement, so it will be a big challenge to do better.
“We’re equipped to do that, and all I can hope is that while I’m here we can win a lot of trophies, that’s what I’m aiming for.
“It’s a dream come true for me. I can’t wait to get started and for the season to start so I can meet my new team-mates, the supporters and all the people who are involved.
“I want to play as many games as possible, score as many goals as possible and win a place in the hearts of the supporters.
“Ultimately, for a player it’s all about winning things; I want to win as many trophies as possible, which is another reason why I came here as Chelsea have been winning things for a long time now, and I hope to win many more during my time here.”