Maurizio Sarri Will ‘Respect’ Eden Hazard Decision & Provides Loftus-Cheek Update Ahead of UEL Final

​Maurizio Sarri has provided an update on the injury sustained to Ruben Loftus-Cheek ahead Chelsea’s Europa League final clash with Arsenal, with the midfielder set for at least a four month lay-off.

The Italian also admitted he will ‘respect’ Eden Hazard’s decision if the Belgian opts to leave London and move to Real Madrid, although he has ‘hope’ that he will stay on at Stamford Bridge.

​Chelsea will take on ​Arsenal in the final of the competition in Baku on Wednesday, with Sarri addressing the media ahead of the all-English European final. One of the key points the 60-year-old brought up was the loss of Loftus-Cheek, who ruptured his achilles during a charity friendly game against MLS outfit New England Revolution.

“For sure, he will become one of the best midfielders in the world,” he said of Loftus-Cheek, as relayed by Goal reporter ​Nizaar Kinsella.

“I don’t know the timing. Maybe four-five months. Training after five months then to train to play at the best of his abilities.”

Much of the discussions taking place ahead of the showpiece event have been surrounding the future of Blues’ forward ​Hazard. The 28-year-old has been widely tipped to confirm his departure from the club and join ​Madrid, with an announcement set to come after Wednesday’s match.

Sarri was quick to state that he wants the player to remain in west London, although he is unsure of the Belgian’s next move. Nevertheless, the Italian claimed his side must be ready for any eventual departure.

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“I want to respect his decision, I hope he will stay with us,” he added. “We need to be ready if he decides something different. Hazard is good for every team [after being asked about Real Madrid], also for us.”

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Christian Pulisic: The American Superstar That Will Be a Better Chelsea Player Than Eden Hazard

​Oh, hi. Didn’t see you there.

How you doing? You okay there buddy? It’s all good. Relax. Take a couple of deep breaths. I know, I know. It’s crazy. You’re angry. And that anger is entitled. Eden Hazard is one of the greatest players to ever put on the Chelsea shirt. Christian Pulisic is just some upstart who’s done ‘some’ okay ‘things’ at notorious Bundesliga bottlers Borussia Dortmund.

They’re not in the same league (both metaphorically and probably literally, despite ​Chris’ best wishes), and never will be. Hell, as was confirmed on Wednesday, Dortmund have effectively replaced Pulisic with Hazard’s beta of a brother, Thorgan.

Christian Pulisic

But sit back, breathe, smile, and see why you might be wrong (I know, it’s a strange concept). See why Pulisic could in fact be a more than capable replacement for Hazard at Stamford Bridge. Why he could in fact be an improvement. Blasphemous, I know. Heresy. Punishable by death via twitter wrath and everything.

But hear me out. 

First of all, the guy’s American. That’s, like, a way better country than Belgium. Hah, Belgium. What have they done? Pathetic. I mean, sure, their football team is factually the best in the world according to FIFA, but how about you back that up with a trophy, lads? Yeh, thought so. #Owned. 

Pulisic is also born in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Yeh, that Hershey. The one with all the chocolate. What cocoa-related exploits can Belgium lay claim to? LOL. #Amateurs. 

Right, now that that #roasting is over, let’s get serious. All of the aforementioned was indeed a joke. 

Let’s talk pre-west London development. Fine, I’ll concede that, before joining the Blues, the Belgian prodigy had already notched 50 goals and 53 assists for Lille, which is, well, quite a bit more than the 19 and 23 that Pulisic has managed.

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But that’s with one more year under his belt and one more season cut in his teeth. And that final year was instrumental in boosting those stats, for, with 22 goals and 22 assists, they accounted for 44% and 41.5% of those totals respectively. So, if we scratch that spectacular season from the record, his tally becomes far more comparable – 28 to 19 goals and 31 to 23 assists.

Still feel like that’s slanted? Well, then take into account that Hazard had accrued 13,752 minutes in that time, while Pulisic was restricted to just 7,495, and then consider that the majority of those former minutes came in France’s famed ‘farmer’s league’, Ligue 1, while the latter’s came in the ultra-competitive haunts of the Bundesliga.

Indeed, taking into consideration solely the highly pressurised cylinders of Champions League football, Pulisic outranks his adversary comfortably in goals (two to zero), assists (three to two) and minutes (1428 to 540). So, he’s played extensively at the highest level, and he’s acquitted himself well. 


The positive comparisons don’t stop there. In fact, as per twitter user ‘ChelseaYannick’, even in a season such as 2018/19, where the emergence of Jadon Sancho meant he was limited to just nine league starts, he still managed a greater goal contribution per minute ratio (every 115 minutes) than Sadio Mane (every 134 minutes), the man who effectively kept Hazard out of the PFA Team of the Year.

Huh. Not bad.

But, no matter how many times they (you know, the Man) tell you it is, football isn’t all about goal contributions. Even in these stat-heavy, oooh-I’ve-read-‘Moneyball’ times, there remains some footballing intangibles. For example, magical moments – save for measuring the social media reach of said clips – are a hard thing to quantify, but one would imagine ​Eden Hazard ranking fairly high in this fictionalised table. 

Hazard has also grown into one of the great on-field leaders at Stamford Bridge, displaying his ability to haul the team on his back time and time and time again. He has been asked to cope with being the team’s unquestioned best player and thrived in that role.

Christian Pulisic

In contrast, Pulisic has no such experience of such things – OH WAIT. Of course he f***ing does. He’s had it all his life. As the only decent player ever to even look at the USMNT shirt (yeah, that’s right Landon Donovan, have some of that — actually, wait, apart from Clint Dempsey…I don’t want to incur the wrath of ‘​Deuce‘) Pulisic has carried this burden since he was a toddler, in one of the most pressurised sporting countries in the world. 

Seriously, this is the place where Jozy Altidore was touted as a game-changer, so imagine what the pressure they heaped on a kid who was starting for the second best team in Germany. 

Hell, look at the pressure we put on Sancho, then imagine Jozy Altidore was the previous benchmark. That’s the level of pressure we’re talking about.


So, to conclude this ludicrously hot-takeist but actually not completely unfounded argument, Pulisic may not be Hazard right now. He may not be Hazard in two years. But he has all the tools and experience at his disposal to replicate the Belgian’s rise and, with the right development and people around him, he could feasibly surpass him. 

There. It’s over. Well done. Don’t @ me.

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Chelsea Revealed as Only Premier League Club Interested in Signing Philippe Coutinho

​Chelsea are interested in signing Barcelona flop Philippe Coutinho if they avoid their two-window transfer ban this summer. 

The Blues are currently looking for a replacement for Belgian superstar Eden Hazard, who looks set to switch Stamford Bridge for the Santiago Bernabeu in a big money move to Real Madrid, with a possible successor for the 28-year-old coming in the form of ex-Liverpool ace Coutinho.

Coutinho has not had the greatest time since signing for Barcelona back in 2018, only contributing to seven goals in 34 appearances in this most recent La Liga campaign, and a trip back to the Premier League could offer him an exit from Camp Nou.

Philippe Coutinho

Spanish radio network​ ​Cadena Ser claim the only Premier League club that has shown an interest in signing the Brazilian is ​Chelsea.

But the Blues are currently enduring a two-window transfer ban for breaching Article 19 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players and are looking to appeal this ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which would see the sanction lifted if successful.

If the ban is overturned Chelsea may look to secure Coutinho’s services a year and a half after the former Inter ace left England for Catalonia.

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However, if the ban is not overturned it’s unlikely Coutinho will return to the ​Premier League anytime soon. He may be pushed further down the pecking order with Barca rumoured to be interested in signing Antoine Griezmann.

Chelsea are looking at possible attacking options to replace ​Hazard, and may have to consider the likes of Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi as opposed to global superstars like Coutinho if their transfer ban is not overturned. 

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France Squad Call-Ups: 7 Premier League Stars Feature, Lenglet Earns Spot & Lacazette Snubbed

​​Arsenal striker ​Alexandre Lacazette has been left out of the France squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, while ​Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet has been included for the first time.

Depsite being named the Gunners’ Player of the Season earlier this month, there is no place for Lacazette in Didier Deschamps’ 23-man squad, which instead includes ​Chelsea’s ​Olivier Giroud and Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder for June’s qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra.


Deschamps, explaining Lacazette’s omission, said via the ​Metro: “There’s no reason for us not to see him again, I had a difficult choice to make, with Ben Yedder coming out of a big season too.

“I have a choice to make and I chose Wissam [Ben Yedder]. He has scored 30 goals in all competitions this season. He scored in big games, he knows how to play in alone in attack. He’s named in this group of attackers as another option at one time or another.”

Meanwhile, Barça centre-back Lenglet has been included for the first time after an impressive debut season at the Camp Nou, where he has made 44 appearances and edged compatriot Samuel Umtiti out of the starting lineup.

​Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte, however, is snubbed yet again by Deschamps despite starring in the Citizens’ treble-winning season and being named in the PFA Team of the Year, with Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma among the preferred defenders after an impressive season on loan at ​Everton.

Kurt Zouma

Lenglet isn’t the only new face in this French camp, as Lyon full-back Leo Dubois and Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan prepare to join up with the World Cup winners for the first time next month.

Chelsea midfielder ​N’Golo Kante has struggled with injury of late, but having returned to training ahead of the Europa League final, the 28-year-old has been named among Deschamps’ midfielders alongside ​Manchester United’s ​Paul Pogba.

N'golo Kante,Paul Pogba

Les Bleus take on Bolivia in a friendly on June 2, before two qualifiers away from home against Turkey on June 6 and Andorra on June 11. 


GoalkeepersAlphonse Areola, Benjamin Lecomte, Hugo Lloris, Mike Maignan.

Defenders: Lucas Digne, Clement Lenglet, Ferland Mendy, Benjamin Pavard, Leo Dubois, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Kurt Zouma

Midfielders: N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Tanguy Ndombele, Paul Pogba, Moussa Sissoko

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder, Kingsley Coman, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Florian Thauvin.

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Petr Cech to Return to Chelsea as New Sporting Director This Summer

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will return to the club this summer as the club’s new sporting director, Sky Sports News have reported.

The 37-year-old will retire from playing at the end of this season and is set to rejoin the club where he spent 11 years as a player before moving to Arsenal in 2015.

It is not yet known what responsibilities Cech will have at Stamford Bridge as he will be the club’s first appointment in this role, with Chelsea having previously only had a technical director.

Petr Cech


That position has been empty since Michael Emenalo’s resignation in 2017 and it is expected that the Premier League clean sheet record holder will take on a number of the duties that were completed by Emenalo once he begins his new position.

Sky Sports announced the news on their website but there has been no official confirmation from Chelsea, Cech’s current employers Arsenal or the man himself regarding the rumours about his future.

The Blues have made it clear that they intend to bring back members of the club’s ‘golden generation’ such as John Terry and Frank Lampard in the coming years and it appears as though the Czech ‘keeper will be the first member from that era to return to the club in a backroom capacity.

The timing of the news could not be worse for the Gunners with Cech due to play for Unai Emery’s team against Chelsea in the Europa League final on May 29.

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Speculation about his goalkeeper’s potential move to their opponents will not please the Spanish coach, who will want everyone fully-focused on the game in Baku.

Arsenal must win if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League while Maurizio Sarri’s side have already secured their spot by finishing third in the league.

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