Manchester City try to see through Eden Hazard's transfer smoke and mirrors


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The Independent Football

Manchester City remain hopeful that they will lure the Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard, one of their top two summer targets, amid suspicions that Chelsea's interest in the player may have been artificially inflated by his agents in a bid to secure a better deal.

City have been frustrated for over a month by the tactics of the 21-year-old, having initially been optimistic that by laying on introductions to Manchester and the club they might secure his signature early.

Hazard (left) created a moment of drama after his side's 4-1 win over AS Nancy on Sunday night having pledged before the game to declare after the final whistle where his future lay. In the event, he merely said he was decided, though he appeared to signal interest in Chelsea by saying that their own offer had made him "hesitate".

This course of events has not entirely surprised City, who had received communications last week from the Hazard camp suggesting that he had selected Chelsea. The going has been made tougher for City by Roberto Di Matteo's side winning the Champions League, since a role in next season's tournament is seen as a prerequisite for Hazard.

Suggestions emanating from France that Chelsea were prepared to offer the player £250,000 a week, as well as pay a £30m fee to Lille, are being viewed as a negotiating ploy, too.