Fresh off the first Champions League triumph in Chelsea’s history, there were two highly touted, skillful wingers that Abramovich put bids in for, Eden Hazard and Lucas Moura…
When Chelsea won the Champions League on that night in Munich they instantly became the club that all young players looked to as the most attractive option for a summer move. With this, Abramovich knew he would have to splash the cash to maintain Chelsea’s newly found status within Europe.
Chelsea’s depth in the right wing and left wing positions was a problem with the likes of Sturridge and Bertrand having to slot into these positions on occasions. Therefore, Chelsea and the financial backing of Abramovich set out on a mission to sign Lucas Moura from São Paulo. From the age of 18 Lucas Moura was a starter for São Paulo and he racked up 19 goals and 15 assists in 74 appearances in the top flight of Brazil.
Nearly 6000 miles away there was another tricky winger lighting up his league. Eden Hazard had scored 50 times and assisted 53 times in 194 appearances for LOSC Lille. Just like Moura, the Belgian had been frequently playing from the age of just 18 and in the 11/12 season became the driving force behind a Ligue 1 title for Lille. Hazard was rightly awarded the Player of The Year award in Ligue 1 and his 20 goals and 18 assists in 38 matches were mouth-watering statistics for a 21-year-old.
Unless you were a Chelsea scout or a frequent watcher of both the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A and Ligue 1 there wasn’t many ways to come to a justification of which player had the better potential. Hazard had the better statistics and basically ‘carried’ Lille to a Ligue 1 title, whereas Moura was slightly younger and the Brazilian hype was at its peak with Neymar also coming to prominence during this time.
On the 22nd of May 2012, just 3 days after winning the Champions League there was a €40m bid put in by Chelsea for Moura according to Juvenal Juvencio (São Paulo President at the time). Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United were also interested but Chelsea were reportedly favourites to sign the Brazilian wonderkid. The bid was rejected by São Paulo and there’s not much clarity as to why it was rejected. The Brazilian club trying to hustle Chelsea out of money as they knew they had more than €40m? They would eventually sell Moura for just €5m more than what Chelsea offered. However, Abramovich is not one for playing games and swiftly moved onto the Belgian youngster lighting up the top flight of French football.
A mere 13 days later, Chelsea agreed terms with Lille for the transfer of Eden Hazard. Less than 2 weeks after a bid being rejected by São Paulo, Chelsea agreed personal terms with Hazard, he completed his medical and was officially announced as a Chelsea player. Chelsea paid £32m for Hazard which meant they actually spent less money than they would have if the deal for Moura went through. The 21-year-old was given over £100,000 a week which seemed an astronomical risk but we all know how it ended up.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing and really makes us wonder what could have happened if we signed Lucas Moura in 2012. There are so many special moments for Eden Hazard in a Chelsea shirt and we would be here all day going over the stuff we could have missed if we chose the Brazilian over the Belgian.
Moura’s career went a different path as he went to PSG and he finally got his move to England in January 2018. Moura has become a high level winger in the last few years at our London rivals but nowhere near the levels of Eden Hazard. Would he have achieved an ounce of what Hazard did at Chelsea if we signed him? Unfortunately, there is no way on earth to predict what Moura’s career would have looked like at Chelsea. However, it can still make us wonder what those 7 years of breathtaking elegance from Eden Hazard would have looked like if we signed Lucas Moura.
Written by Frankie