Andre Schurrle and Thorgan Hazard have both outlined the reasons for their summer departures from Chelsea on the eve of them facing English opposition in the Champions League. Schurrle's Wolfsburg face Manchester United while Hazard's side Borussia Monchengladbach take on Manchester City, matches that bring back memories for both players of their inauspicious spells with the reigning Premier League champions.
Schurrle was offloaded for £24m ($36.5m), according to The Independent, after just 18 months at Stamford Bridge, where he scored 14 goals in 65 appearances in all competitions after becoming a bit-part player. The Germany international returned from making a telling contribution in helping his country win the World Cup only to find himself falling down the pecking order and out of the door come the January transfer window.
The decision to allow Schurrle to leave is all the more curious given his replacement Juan Cuadrado has now also left Chelsea, leaving manager Jose Mourinho short of options in wide positions. Though the 24-year-old has endured a slow start to the campaign for Wolfsburg he is still baffled as to why he was not trusted by Mourinho.
"I had a good time at Chelsea and was accepted in the team, so it's difficult to explain why I left," Schurrle told The Times. "My performances were good as well, but there was a time in my second season when I felt I didn't have the manager's trust any more, and didn't play many matches from the start. It was difficult to leave, but when I had the chance to come back to Germany to join an awesome club like Wolfsburg I felt it was a good decision.
"I don't know why Mourinho didn't trust me. It all felt a bit weird to me. I started a few games, was on the bench for a few, then started some more. It was up and down the whole time. I didn't get any consistency from the manager so found it hard to produce my best. That's probably the biggest reason I wanted to leave.
"I had a lot of good talks with the manager and respect him a lot, as he told me to my face what he wanted me to do. I had some very good games, but there was often an ordinary game soon afterwards as well. It was hard because I felt like I was training well and working really hard, but I wasn't getting in the team. It was always up and down."
The first of eight permanent exits from Chelsea during the summer saw Hazard, young brother of Eden, leave the club for £6m, according to Talksport, after three years on the periphery. Since joining from Lens in the summer of 2012, the 22-year-old had been sent out on loan spells at Zulte Waregem and Monchengladbach across three seasons without making a single senior appearance for the Blues.
Hazard ran out of patience in February, securing a permanent move to the Budesliga club, and he admits the chance to play regular first team football and escape being in limbo at Chelsea — who have inserted a buy-back clause in his contract — was too good an opportunity to turn down. "It is important to be playing," he told The Sun, according to Sky Sports. "I'm 22 and I need to play and learn. I am learning a lot with this team. Sometimes it is difficult but in the last two years I have played a lot of games."