Friday 17 August 2018

Luiz calls on Courtois and Hazard to stay but backs Chelsea to thrive if they go

Both players have been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

Thibaut Courtois’ future at Chelsea remains in doubt, but David Luiz has called on his team-mate to stay (Mike Egerton/PA)
Thibaut Courtois’ future at Chelsea remains in doubt, but David Luiz has called on his team-mate to stay (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

David Luiz has urged Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard to stay at Chelsea – but the Brazilian believes the Blues can thrive if the pair leave.

Courtois has a year remaining on his contract and has been repeatedly linked with a move to Real Madrid. Chelsea risk losing him for a reduced fee in January or for free next summer.

Hazard, whose deal expires in 2020, has stalled over a new contract offer and has long been the subject of speculation over a move to Real.

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David Luiz, right, wants Eden Hazard to stay at Chelsea (Steven Paston/PA)

“Chelsea wants for the best players to stay,” Luiz said.

“They know Chelsea a lot, so they know what they’ve had here, the fun they’ve had here. Everybody loves them and I hope they can stay.”

Head coach Maurizio Sarri on Sunday, following the Community Shield loss to Manchester City at Wembley, said he would sanction Courtois’ departure if the goalkeeper expresses a desire to leave.

The transfer window for incoming players to Premier League clubs closes this Thursday, but Luiz is adamant the Blues have enough quality even if Courtois and Hazard go.

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Willian, centre, has been linked with moves away from Chelsea (Adam Davy/PA)

“I want them to stay, because we have top players with the confidence,” Luiz added.

“If they decide to leave, I think we will continue with fantastic players.”

Willian is another Chelsea player linked with a move, with Manchester United, Barcelona and Real reportedly courting the Brazil playmaker. Luiz dismissed the idea of his lifelong friend leaving.

Luiz said: “Since the beginning, he told me he loved Chelsea.”

Luiz knows what life is like away from Chelsea, having spent two seasons at Paris St Germain before returning to Stamford Bridge in August 2016.

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David Luiz played a crucial role in the Premier League win in Antonio Conte’s first season before relations soured (Adam Davy/PA)

He played a crucial role in Chelsea’s title triumph in Antonio Conte’s first season as head coach before injury and a rumoured fallout saw him sidelined.

He insists he never contemplated leaving Chelsea for a second time and is now keen to show he can be a key figure for Sarri’s Chelsea.

“I was just working and trying to do my best,” Luiz added.

“Everybody has the opportunity, you just have to show him character, physical quality, technical quality, so since the first day I’m trying to do that.”

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Maurizio Sarri’s style has been likened to Pep Guardiola’s (Mike Egerton/PA Images)

Sarri has torn up Conte’s three-man defence, replacing it with a back four, in the three weeks since his appointment.

The 59-year-old Italian’s style has been likened to Pep Guardiola’s.

But while Manchester City afforded the Catalan time to adjust in his first season in England, there is precious little time for Sarri.

“I hope we can understand it quickly and can fight for all the titles,” Luiz added.

“When you play for a big club you have to be ready to try to fight for the titles, and we’re going to fight for that.”

Press Association

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