With hardly any playing minutes in his legs, immediate returns will be expected from Thorgan Hazard at Anderlecht. This scenario occurred earlier in January at PSV Eindhoven, where he was also considered a golden opportunity from the higher end of the transfer market.
In Eindhoven he ultimately failed to deliver a high return because he was plagued by various injuries. This is an unavoidable business risk that often accompanies such golden opportunities
It is up to Anderlecht to learn lessons from Hazard’s history at PSV, although there are also important differences between the two situations.
The new man for the attack
During the previous winter transfer period, PSV looked for a suitable successor for Cody Gakpo, the wing attacker who left for Liverpool FC for a staggering amount of 42 million euros.
The Eindhoven club had set its sights on Thorgan Hazard and PSV was determined to conclude a deal with the Red Devil and his then employer Borussia Dortmund, despite the fact that several other attackers did not want to move to the Philips Stadium.
According to it Algemeen Dagblad There was quite a bit of unrest in Eindhoven at the time, with more wingers being linked to PSV than points coming in.
Hazard was one of the rare targets open to a temporary switch to PSV, as he was in a difficult situation at Borussia Dortmund at the time. At the German club he mainly acted as a substitute and received little playing time.
“We have always had Thorgan Hazard very high on our list and he will now be our new man for the attack,” said PSV general manager Marcel Brands. Algemeen Dagblad.
Little rhythm, immediately decisive
Thorgan Hazard chose PSV Eindhoven over an adventure at Everton FC, hoping to get his career back on track in the Netherlands.
PSV also originally saw Hazard’s arrival as a long-term transfer, as the club planned to include a purchase option in the six-month loan deal.
However, PSV ultimately paid 1.7 million euros, including salary and rental costs, to Borussia Dortmund, without the option of permanently signing Hazard.
Hazard arrived at the Philips Stadium with little match rhythm in his legs, but he did make a dream debut by scoring a goal in the top match against Feyenoord in his first match for PSV.
In his second appearance he provided an assist and Hazard also played a decisive role in the KNVB Cup final against Ajax with a goal.
Business risk for golden opportunities from the higher segment
At the time, Ruud van Nistelrooij was the coach of PSV, and he saw that Hazard was well on his way to living up to the high expectations. “What are good signals is that his actions immediately yield results,” said van Nistelrooij after Thorgan Hazard’s first games at PSV Eindhoven.
“His first ball contact against Feyenoord is a goal, he comes on against FC Emmen and lays a ball ready for Luuk (De Jong, ed.), who shoots it in. These are wonderful signals that a player is quickly grounded and feels good in the group.”
Hazard then had to build up his playing time, but that was made difficult by various injuries. He was on the sidelines for weeks and ultimately failed to make his mark at PSV Eindhoven.
“A normal business risk for ‘great opportunities’ that are available from the higher segment on deadline day of the transfer market,” it analyzed Algemeen Dagblad. “Sometimes they have little rhythm, while they have to deliver quickly.”
The Dutch top club did not choose to permanently take over Hazard from Borussia Dortmund this summer, mainly because of his high salary, which was also far beyond the reach of the PSV.
Anderlecht and Hazard are making great efforts
At Anderlecht, Thorgan Hazard was also seen as a godsend on deadline day, available from the higher segment. The crucial difference here is that Jesper Fredberg permanently recruited him, with a view to a long-term collaboration.
Hazard signed a three-year contract, with an option for an extra year. This will give him much more time and space to perform at Anderlecht compared to his six-month loan period at PSV Eindhoven.
Anderlecht paid a sum of 4 million euros to Borussia Dortmund to sign Hazard, but the 30-year-old player also made a significant financial effort to come to Brussels. In Germany, the Red Devil earned six million euros gross, while at Anderlecht he would earn at least half of that amount.
The newspapaer speaks of a gross annual salary of less than two million euros, without bonuses and annual signing fees. The last news it amounts to almost three million euros gross per year.
Learning from passage at PSV
Just like his arrival at PSV Eindhoven last winter, the Red Devil currently finds himself in a situation where he has not built up much match rhythm. Nevertheless, he will be expected to deliver quick returns at Lotto Park.
In the past season, Thorgan Hazard played only 812 minutes in both the German and Dutch competitions, 1,374 minutes including (inter)national tournaments. He has only played 441 minutes so far in the 2023 calendar year.
It therefore seems advisable that he is given a break-in period to prevent possible injuries, as was evident at PSV.
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