Maurizio Sarri has urged Chelsea’s board to end the uncertainty over Eden Hazard’s long-term future.
Boss Sarri has admitted the Blues must “solve the problem” of Hazard stalling over a new deal, with the Belgian star’s current contract expiring in 2020 and Real Madrid eagerly eyeing up Chelsea’s prize asset.
Hazard passed a century of Chelsea goals in the 2-1 Boxing Day win at Watford, then claimed he will wait until the summer before deciding his long-term future.
Asked what Chelsea could do if Hazard continues to put off the decision on his Stamford Bridge status, Sarri replied: “The club can decide for him.
“I think it’s right that the club knows the future, and has the chance to programme the future.
“I think that the club has to program the future. And I think that they need to start in this period.
“I am the coach. I am not the president; I am not in charge of the market, I am the coach.Maurizio Sarri
“If we want to programme the future, we have to solve this problem.”
Asked if Sarri could resolve the issue himself, the Italian boss continued: “No, because I do not have the power to do this.
“I am the coach. I am not the president; I am not in charge of the market, I am the coach.
“I want to speak to him only about the position on the pitch.”
When asked if he was surprised the limbo around Hazard’s future had dragged on so long, Sarri added: “Yes, I am surprised, but I don’t know the past of course and so I am not able to say anything.”
Hazard’s match-turning showing at Vicarage Road on Boxing Day proved his abilities as a central striker once again.
The 27-year-old remains adamant he prefers to operate on the wing, despite Sarri recently deploying him as a ‘false nine’ through the middle.
When quizzed on his decision to shift Hazard into the centre, Sarri became frustrated and pledged to keep on fielding the Belgium forward where he sees fit.
On Hazard’s continued public stance that he favours the wing, Sarri said: “I think it’s more important what he says to me.
“I cannot see the problem of Hazard in this role, he played four matches as false number nine, and he scored three goals and two made assists. So I am not able to see the problem.
“I am really very happy with him in this position, because he’s very able to score, first of all, but he’s very able to open spaces for the team-mates, to come and play with the team-mates.
“So at the moment I am very happy with him in this position, but in the future he can also play as a winger of course.
“I don’t know if he prefers to play as a winger or a striker, but if he is able to play as in the last match in the centre for me it’s not a problem to put him in the centre.”