Eden Hazard demonstrated the increasing power of Twitter by finally announcing he had decided to join Chelsea this summer.
Lille playmaker Hazard continued to keep his followers on the social networking site in suspense yesterday by posting he had “made up his mind” which club to sign for but declined to name the team in question.
Then, shortly before 9pm, the 21-year-old put fans of several Barclays Premier League sides out of their misery by writing: “I’m signing for the champion’s league winner.”
There was no official confirmation from either club this morning, with a Chelsea spokesman saying: “As with all transfers, when we have something to announce, we will announce it in the usual way.”
But reports in France suggest the Belgium star, who has been rated at £32m, has agreed a five-year deal worth £100,000 a week after tax.
Hazard became one of the most sought-after players in the game this season and actively flirted with a host of European giants.
Manchester United and Manchester City looked to be favourites for his signature until Chelsea’s surprise European Cup triumph last weekend.
Hazard admitted that was a game changer and it was telling he used the expression ’Champions League winners’ to describe the Blues yesterday evening.
His anticipated revelation was a hot topic of debate on Twitter, with his announcement having gazumped any attempts Chelsea and Lille may have been making to announce the news themselves.
I'm signing for the champion's league winner.— Eden Hazard (@hazardeden10) May 28, 2012
The Blues did manage to break another significant story earlier in the day when they confirmed Champions League hero Petr Cech had signed a new four-year contract.
Goalkeeper Cech, who moved to Stamford Bridge in 2004, said: “I’m really happy to be part of this great club for another four years.
“I hope the next four years will be as successful as the last eight years I have been at the club.”
Cech, 30, made a series of crucial saves in Chelsea’s Champions League and FA Cup triumphs.
He kept out Arjen Robben’s penalty in extra-time in last weekend’s European Cup final and repelled two more in the shootout.
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said: “Chelsea fully appreciates the hugely significant contribution Petr has made to the most successful period in the club’s history, and it is very important to our aim of continuing this level of achievement that he has committed himself to the club until 2016.”
Chelsea’s summer business is unlikely to end there, amid reports Porto striker Hulk is being lined up as a replacement for Didier Drogba, who quit Stamford Bridge last week following his own Champions League heroics.
Marko Marin has already signed from Werder Bremen, while Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa are set to join Drogba out of the exit door.
All this with Chelsea still to appoint a permanent manager, with Gus Poyet having become the latest former player to urge them to give the job to ex-team-mate and caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo.