Belfast Telegraph

New Chelsea boss Sarri plunges futures of several stars into doubt

Maurizio Sarri fefused to comment on Hazard and Courtois rumours and also hinted at significant defensive changes

Maurizio Sarri was unable to give guarantees over the futures of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois amid speculation the Belgian pair could leave this summer.

Speaking at his unveiling as Chelsea head coach at Stamford Bridge, Sarri told a media conference of his disinterest in the transfer market.

After an opening address in English, Sarri spoke in his native Italian, saying: "Clearly we would always like to keep all the strongest players. This is what any manager wants to do, this is what any club wants to do.

"Then we will have to see how the transfer market will go over the next few days.

"I think that I am one of the few managers who is bored by the transfer market. I don't want to talk about the transfer market and I'm not that interested in it."

Sarri would not respond to further transfer questions, but cast doubt on the futures of his defenders.

"I cannot name any names because I don't know who these people are," Sarri added.  "I spoke to the football club and I said a pinch of quality is lacking in centre halves for a certain kind of play. Otherwise they're at a very high level.

"At the end of the transfer window it will be up to me."

Asked specifically about club captain and Chelsea's longest-serving first-team player Gary Cahill, who was on Tuesday linked with a move, Sarri said: "With respect to Cahill, I think he can still give us a lot."

Sarri said he "did not want to say anything wrong" in his first media conference in explaining his preference to speak in Italian.

He insisted he had not spoken to Carlo Ancelotti, the former Chelsea boss who succeeded him at Napoli, ahead of his move to Stamford Bridge.

He said: "Well, for me this is a difficult challenge, but a fascinating one. I know it will be very difficult and here we have the strongest coaches in the world and the strongest players in the world.

"I know this will be an extremely difficult challenge for me. I have not asked anything of anyone. I want to have this experience also based on my mistakes."

He also paid tribute to his compatriot Antonio Conte, who was sacked last week, while also saying he will need time to impose his methods, particularly with many players still absent after the World Cup.

He added: "Antonio has reached incredible results here and elsewhere. He is an extraordinary manager. Clearly I play in a slightly different way so it will take some time for the squad.

"This is a post-World Cup time. It will take some time to build a slightly different way of playing. All good things Antonio Conte did must be left. They must not be changed."

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