Chelsea complete Hazard swoopComment on this story
London – European champions Chelsea completed the signing of highly-rated Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard from French club Lille on Monday.
Hazard's move to Stamford Bridge had been expected since last week when he tweeted that he would be joining the Champions League winners and the transfer has now been finalised after the 21-year-old passed a medical.
"Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce we have agreed terms with Lille for the transfer of Eden Hazard," a statement on the club's website confirmed.
"The 21-year-old Belgian international has agreed personal terms with the club and today passed a medical examination. He will join the club in July when the players return for pre-season training.
The Blues have beaten Premier League rivals Manchester City and Manchester United for the signature of a player regarded as one of Europe's brightest young stars.
Reports suggest Chelsea have paid £32 million to sign Hazard, which would make him the second most expensive player in Chelsea's history behind £50 million striker Fernando Torres.
"I'm delighted to finally arrive here, it's a wonderful club and I can't wait to get started," Hazard added on Chelsea's website.
It is believed Chelsea have agreed to pay Hazard around £170,000-a-week to add his exciting creative talents to a midfield being overhauled despite the club's Champions League and FA Cup double this season.
Although they are yet to confirm who will manage the team next season after interim boss Roberto Di Matteo's cup triumphs, the Blues have still been busy in the transfer market and Hazard follows Germany winger Marko Marin as their second summer signing.
With star striker Didier Drogba departed, Hazard, Marin and Juan Mata will form a creative trio expected to supply the ammunition for Torres in a bid to get the misfiring Spaniard back on track.
Hazard's exceptional pedigree in French football suggests he will be a hit with his new club whoever ends up in charge.
He helped Lille win the Ligue 1 title and the French Cup in 2011 and was named Ligue 1 player of the year this term after helping his team back into the Champions League with 20 goals and 15 assists.
Hazard was in London last weekend to play for Belgium in their 1-0 friendly defeat against England and gave a few glimpses of his potential while also enduring some tough tackles from new Chelsea team-mates John Terry and Ashley Cole. – Sapa-AFP