MAURIZIO SARRI admits he will only be certain Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea when he looks the Belgian star in the eye.

Chelsea’s new boss is facing a potential exodus of his top talent with playmaker Hazard and keeper Thibaut Courtois strongly linked with Real Madrid.

Brazil ace Willian is a long-time target of Manchester United while Barcelona are eyeing France midfielder N’Golo Kante.

Asked if he planned to phone the four key players, Sarri, who was officially unveiled by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, said: “I don’t think so honestly, because clearly the players you are referring to are very high-level players.

“I would like to keep them in my squad but a telephone call without looking them in the eye will not give me any certainty.

“I would like to meet these players face to face and talk to them and understand what the best thing to do for everyone.”

“I would like to keep them in my squad but a telephone call without looking them in the eye will not give me any certainty”

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri

Belgians Hazard and Courtois are not due back for training until August 4 following the World Cup, with Kante returning on the 5th – four days before the Premier League transfer window shuts.

But Sarri is desperate for the chance to prove to his star that his ambition matches their own.

He added: “I would also like a player to come on the pitch for four or five days together with me to have a clear idea of what the plan is.

“Clearly we would always like to keep all the strongest players.”

Hazard revealed in Russia that “it’s maybe time to change something” and has sights set on a move to the Bernabeu, possibly for a world record £200m.

Courtois has refused extend his deal beyond the end of the coming season and the Blues appear to be preparing for his departure, having tried to snatch Roma keeper Allison from under the noses of Liverpool.

Sarri, 59, flew off to Australia with Chelsea for a pre-season clash against Perth Glory on Monday.

The former Napoli coach admitted he was up against it when it came to stamping his mark on the Chelsea team quickly, following the axing of Antonio Conte.

“Antonio had incredible results here and elsewhere,” said Sarri. “He is an incredible manager. I play in a slightly different way.

“It will take some time for the squad to adjust. With the World Cup some players will come back later and it will take time to build a slightly different way of playing.

“It is very important also to know how to impose one’s own football philosophy in a shorter time, shorter than the past.”


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