(Reuters) – Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not be allowed to leave the club during the January transfer window, manager Maurizio Sarri said on Tuesday.
Competition from N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley has limited Loftus-Cheek’s chances this season but the 22-year-old England international has impressed with five goals in his last six appearances to draw praise from Sarri.
“He has played in the Europa League and League Cup, some in the Premier League but not starting. At the moment he’s very important for us,” Sarri told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“He had some problems to understand what I wanted, but he is improving and in the last two matches I’ve been happy. I want him to stay so I think there’s no chance (of him leaving).”
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta signed a new four-year deal on Tuesday and Sarri said he was keen for the club to extend the tenures of David Luiz and Cesc Fabregas whose contracts run out at the end of the season.
“I spoke with the club about this a month ago. I know very well it’s not easy, but I think we can do a new deal for both,” Sarri added.
“David and Cesc are leaders. It’s important for me, for the staff and also for their team mates that they stay.”
Chelsea are third in the standings with 31 points and go into Wednesday’s game on the back of a 2-0 win over Fulham while Wolves are looking to avoid a third straight league defeat.
Sarri, however, expects a tough outing at 12th-placed Wolves who have drawn with Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.
“They’re a technical team,” he said. “They were unlucky in the last few matches, but it’s not easy to play there.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)