The long-running transfer saga surrounding the next destination of young Belgian winger Eden Hazard rumbles on, with the latest news being that the 21 year old Lille playmaker has been given a personal tour of the property market in the north-west, by Manchester City officials desperate to keep local rivals Manchester United from gaining favour with the player.
A report in the Daily Mail added Hazard was at the Etihad on Monday evening to see City beat United 1-0 to go top of the league and went house-hunting, with City officials, the next day. These are, understandably, ominous signs for both the Red Devils and Tottenham, who have also been credited with an interest in signing him.
Indeed, an earlier Daily Mailreport suggested Harry Redknapp would use Spurs' Mexican youngster Gio Dos Santos as bait in attempting to convince Lille to part with their star man. It is further believed that representatives from all three clubs were present to watch Hazard guide his side to a 2-1 win over Paris Saint Germain (PSG) on 29 April. The Belgian followed that fine performance with another match-winning display on 4 May, setting up team mate Tulio de Melo to score the only goal of the game as Lille beat Nice 1-0 and all but confirmed a spot in the Champions League playoffs for next season.
Hazard has had an absolutely stunning season so far, with 17 goals and 15 assists in 35 league games, earning him comparisons with Argentine and Portuguese goal scoring machines Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, respectively.
The fact of Hazard's transfer is no longer up for debate. The player was quoted, in a report by the Guardian, as saying he wanted to move to the Premier League at the end of the season. His destination, however, is certainly keeping everyone guessing.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini, as well as Redknapp, have lost no time in praising the youngster, with Mancini telling him City would be his "perfect destination".
"I like Hazard a lot," Mancini was quoted as saying in an ESPN report, "He's a good player, he's young and he would do great things in our team. Given his technical qualities, City would be the perfect destination. I know him and have been following him for a long time. He's a player a lot of teams want."
Meanwhile, although Chelsea and Liverpool have also been linked with the player, there has been no report of any active interest from either club. The Daily Mail believes the player has been valued at £30mn (although the Belfast Telegraph quotes £40mn) but the biggest obstacle to any move seems to be a mutually agreeable wage. Hazard is reportedly looking to be placed in the upper echelons of each club's wage structures, something both Manchester clubs are unhappy with given his lack of experience, not only with the English league but also on the European stage.
Should the clubs in England fail to come to an agreement with the player, it could even be that Hazard moves to the continent. Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona could both be interested and, given the more lenient tax laws in Spain, a larger wage may not be a problem. Hazard did admit, in February though, he could be open to such a move.
"Spain is perhaps more my style of game but (if I move there) it must be to either Barcelona or Real Madrid," he was quoted as saying by the Metro.