Chelsea's over-30s policy holding up David Luiz, Cesc Fabregas contract talks - Sarri
LONDON -- Maurizio Sarri confirmed that he would like to see David Luiz and Cesc Fabregas follow Cesar Azpilicueta in signing new Chelsea contracts, but admitted that the club's policy of only offering one-year deals to players over the age of 30 is a sticking point in negotiations.
Chelsea announced on Tuesday that Azpilicueta had signed a contract extension committing him to Stamford Bridge until June 2022, while both Marcos Alonso and N'Golo Kante have put pen to paper on lucrative new deals in recent weeks.
Luiz and Fabregas are among several Chelsea first-team players set to be free agents next summer and both have expressed a desire to stay beyond this season. Sarri wants to keep the pair, and remains confident that his club will find a way to get it done -- though he suggested they may have to compromise.
"I spoke with the club one month ago about this," Sarri told a news conference. "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. It's very difficult to find a centre-back for this level [like Luiz], and it's very difficult to find a central midfielder technically like Fabregas. And so I think they have to stay with us."
Asked if Chelsea's one-year policy for veterans is complicating matters, Sarri replied: "The deal is very difficult for this reason, 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 teammates 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/four years for the new contract. But I think the club will be able to find the right solution."
Another player whose future at Chelsea remains uncertain is Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The 22-year-old has performed impressively in recent weeks but is yet to start in the Premier League, and is determined to get more regular first-team opportunities this season at Stamford Bridge or elsewhere.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Chelsea will not consider selling Loftus-Cheek under any circumstances in January, and Sarri reiterated that he does not want the midfielder to leave on loan in the New Year either.
"He played some matches in the Europa League and the League Cup, and he played matches in the Premier League without starting, I think," Sarri added. "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 [of him leaving in January]."
Chelsea travel to Molineux to face Wolves on Wednesday with no significant injuries, though Mateo Kovacic (ankle) and Marcos Alonso (back) are carrying knocks and will be assessed closer to kick-off.