New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has insisted that he remains confident of keeping hold of the club’s key players this summer despite near-daily rumours linking them with moves abroad.
Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Willian have all been strongly linked with moves to La Liga this summer – specifically to Clasico rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona – but Sarri insisted on Monday that he expects the trio to remain in London this summer.
Speaking after his side’s pre-season friendly against Perth Glory, he said: “I’d like to talk to a person face by face. I don’t like to talk to a person by telephone. It’s a pleasure to have Courtois, to have Willian, to have Hazard, but [their future] doesn’t depend on me, not only on me. So, we have to wait. I’m confident.”
Willian, in particular, has been the subject of speculation in recent days, with reports that Barcelona have had a string of increasing bids turned down by the Blues.
Asked about the Brazilian’s future, Sarri added: “I think that the press sell the players every single year. They buy players, they sell players. I hope the trio can stay because they are fantastic players, fantastic talents and we need the best players in Chelsea. I speak to Willian almost every day, he loves to play for Chelsea. I think he’s going to stay.”
After Sarri spoke following the game, Barcelona appeared to justify his words on Willian – launching a late attempt to disrupt AS Roma’s move for Malcom in an apparent admission of defeat in their attempts to bring his countryman to Catalonia.