Wednesday 17 October 2018

Maurizio Sarri: Eden Hazard and Willian leaving Chelsea is impossible

The two midfielders have been linked with moves away from Stamford Bridge.

It will be “impossible” for Eden Hazard and Willian to leave Chelsea this month, Maurizio Sarri says (John Walton/PA)
It will be “impossible” for Eden Hazard and Willian to leave Chelsea this month, Maurizio Sarri says (John Walton/PA)

By Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

Maurizio Sarri expects Chelsea to keep Eden Hazard and Willian despite the transfer window remaining open in continental Europe.

Hazard has been linked with Real Madrid and Willian with Barcelona this summer.

Sarri, speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League opener at Huddersfield, said: “I think it’s impossible. Here the market is closed, so we cannot change important players now. It’s impossible.”

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Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri expects Eden Hazard to stay (Mike Egerton/PA)

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois left Chelsea for Real Madrid this week, urging his Belgium team-mate Hazard to join him in future.

“Hazard is with us,” Sarri said.

“I think definitely. It’s not a problem. I have spoken with him three, four times, for everything. He never said something about the market. I think he’s very happy to stay here.”

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Eden Hazard’s Chelsea contract has two years left to run (Adam Davy/PA)

Hazard’s contract runs until June 2020 and he has been mulling over the offer of an extension for some time. Sarri believes Hazard will commit to the club.

Sarri added: “I don’t want to discuss about contracts. It’s not my job. My job is on the pitch. My job is to improve the players. My job is to try to win matches.

“It’s not to sign new contracts. I have seen a player very happy to stay here. So I think it will not be a problem, the new contract.”

Sarri suggested there will be departures before the end of the month, and two were announced before the day was done, with striker Michy Batshuayi joining Valencia on a season-long loan and defender Kurt Zouma going to Everton for the same length of time.

The 24-year-old Batshuayi spent the second half of last season on loan at Borussia Dortmund while Zouma was at Stoke.

The squad is too large Maurizio Sarri

“Now I think the squad is too large. So I think some players have to go on loan. I prefer to have 23, 24 players and three, four, very young players. No more,” Sarri said.

Sarri refused to criticise Courtois for his failure to attend Chelsea training, kissing the Real badge at his unveiling and encouraging Hazard to move.

Mateo Kovacic moved from Real to Chelsea on a season-long loan and Kepa Arrizabalaga has succeeded Courtois as Chelsea’s number one, becoming the world’s most expensive goalkeeper in a £72.1million deal from Athletic Bilbao.

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Kepa Arrizabalaga joined Chelsea for a world record fee for a goalkeeper (John Stillwell/PA)

“I’m very happy for both,” Sarri added.

“The Courtois situation was clear. He wanted to go to Madrid, so we lost maybe one of the most important goalkeepers in the world now.

“We bought a young goalkeeper, I think one of the most important amongst the young goalkeepers in Europe. I’m really happy.

“I’m really happy with Kovacic. He has the characteristics for us. I’m really very happy and I think now the squad is complete.”

Asked if Kepa can be better than Courtois, Sarri said: “Not at the moment, for sure. He’s very young, 23.

“I hope he can improve very fast. For the moment he’s not Courtois, for sure.

“Kovacic is a very technical player. He’s able to play between the lines of the opponent. For us it could be very important.”

Sarri did not confirm if Kepa will start at Huddersfield, so Willy Caballero could continue in goal. Cesar Azpilicueta will captain the side.

Press Association

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