Monday 24 June 2019

'We need a replacement' - Maurizio Sarri says Chelsea must get a midfielder if Cesc Fabregas leaves

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. John Walton/PA Wire.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. John Walton/PA Wire. Newsdesk Newsdesk

Head coach Maurizio Sarri advised Cesc Fabregas to leave Chelsea for the good of his career.

The 31-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season and he appeared to say goodbye to Chelsea after Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest, where he applauded all sides of the ground.

With Chelsea offering one-year contracts for players aged over 30, Sarri said Fabregas should accept the two-year deal on the table from Monaco.

"In my opinion, he needs to go," said Sarri, speaking ahead of Tuesday's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg with Tottenham at Wembley.

"You know very well the situation. You know very well in this club there is a rule: the renewal of players over 30 is usually one year.

"He has an offer for two years. I don't want a very important player as Cesc unhappy."

Sarri said Fabregas suffered cramp against Forest and may not be available to face Spurs, although Eden Hazard and David Luiz were among those to suggest afterwards that the game had been Fabregas' farewell.

The Blues boss said Fabregas had a "free day" on Sunday, refusing to confirm or deny reports the playmaker went to France to meet with Monaco.

The Italian said Fabregas must be replaced if he leaves.

"If Cesc will go, of course we need a replacement," Sarri added.

"Now, with the midfielders we are in trouble, I think.

"Without Cesc we have only five, so we are in trouble. We need a replacement."

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is out of the Spurs fixture, with Chelsea seeking to determine the full extent of his back problem.

Forwards Pedro, Willian (both hamstring) and striker Olivier Giroud (ankle) have returned to training following injury and could be in contention to play.

Gary Cahill was not in the squad for the Forest fixture, amid reports of a loan move to Fulham for the final six months of his Chelsea contract. Sarri could not shed any light.

Callum Hudson-Odoi provided both goals for Alvaro Morata and the 18-year-old has also been linked with a move, to German giants Bayern Munich.

On Hudson-Odoi, Sarri said: "I know only that for me he's a very important player. He's very young, but now he's improving.

"I think to stay here is better for him. He's an English player. He's very young. He has the future. And I think he has a very great future here, in England, with the national team and with Chelsea.

"We have very important players in the same position. I think now he is ready.

"Sometimes he will be on the bench, as Willian, as Pedro. Now I can start to consider him at the same level (as Willian and Pedro)."

Sarri's first two losses as Chelsea boss came at Wembley, in August's Community Shield and, after an 18-match unbeaten run, against Spurs on November 24.

In that game, Spurs scored twice in the opening 16 minutes and Sarri afterwards bemoaned his side's attitude.

He said on Monday that his team must match Spurs' desire before tactics can be taken into account.

He added: "We need to approach the match in another way, because we lost the match in the first 15 minutes. They were really more aggressive than us, more determined than us.

"Now we know very well if we approach the same there's no solution for us. I want to speak before about this, otherwise it's useless to speak about tactics."

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