Manchester United were heavily interested in signing Eden Hazard but London rivals Chelsea snapped him up with a better offer, two years back. But, they have a chance now to land the ‘next Eden Hazard’, should they show genuine interest and step up the pursuit.
Belgium is gradually developing as the new powerhouse of Europe (if not already) where abundance of quality players are coming up through the ranks and making their way to the top European leagues.
According to reports, United are targeting yet another Belgian teenager Zakaria Bakkali, who according to his national team manager, has similar playing styles with Chelsea star Eden Hazard.
The 17-year-old plays for Dutch club PSV Eindhoven but has yet to sign a professional contract. He will be eligible to do so only when he is 18, but the Dutch club are willing to tie him down to a three-year-deal.
He is the youngest ever player to score a hat-trick in the Eredivisie and was called up to the Belgian national team for the recent games against Croatia and Wales. However, he will have to wait for his debut, after he missed those ties through injuries.
Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has heaped high praises on the youngster and even revealed that he could be a ready-made replacement for Hazard in the squad.
“Zakaria is a player who scores easily, is very fast and has skilful dribbling,” he said.
“Zakaria has just about the same profile as Eden [Hazard]. If something happens to Eden, I will swap him [for Bakkali].”
However, big talents attract fierce competitions in the market. Manchester United are not the only one who are keeping tabs on his progress. It is understood that Arsenal and Manchester City are also interested in him.