Maurizio Sarri is hopeful Chelsea will find agreements with Cesc Fabregas and David Luiz over new contracts as they run the risk of losing them on free transfers at the end of the season.
Luiz has regained his place in the starting XI this term under Sarri, having only made 10 Premier League appearances under Antonio Conte last season.
But the opposite must be said for Fabregas, who – having played 32 times in 2017-18 – has featured on just three occasions in the top flight since Sarri took charge.
Both players’ contracts are about to enter the final six months, meaning they will be able to start discussing terms with other clubs over free transfers at the end of the season.
Sarri spoke in Tuesday’s news conference of his desire to see both players remain at the club and is optimistic a solution can be found, despite Luiz and Fabregas asking for longer deals than Chelsea are willing to give.
“I spoke with the club one month ago about this,” Sarri told reporters. “I know very well that it’s not easy, but I think that we can do a new deal for both.
“They are very important players for us and, on the other hand, it’s very difficult to find a centre-back for this level, and it’s very difficult to find a central midfielder technically like Fabregas. And so I think they have to stay with us.
“The deal is very difficult for this reason [their age], I think, because the club wants a short contract, and the players want a long contract.
“So, it’s difficult for this reason, but I think, at the end, we can find a solution.
“I think that David and Cesc are leaders, and so I think it’s very important for me, for the staff, and also for their team-mates that they stay with us.
“I know the difficulties of the new deal, as I said before. The problem is only one year, two years or three or four years for the new contract, but I think the club will be able to find the right solution.”
Another player to have been linked with a move away from Chelsea is Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but Sarri is adamant there is no chance of the midfielder leaving in January.
“He played some matches in the Europa League and the League Cup, and he played five or six [four] matches in the Premier League without starting, I think,” the Italian said.
“He is, at the moment, very important for us. He had some problems to understand very well what I wanted but now he is improving and, in the last two matches, I was really very happy with him.”
“I want him to stay with me, to stay with us. So, I think that there is no chance.”