Chelsea: Sarri admits Courtois could leave next week

The Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, has suggested he is open to allowing Thibaut Courtois to depart Stamford Bridge this week if the goalkeeper asks to leave.

Courtois’s agent, Christophe Henrotay, has said the player wants to move to Real Madrid to be closer to his daughter, who lives in Spain.

But Sarri says the Belgian, who returns on Monday from post-World Cup leave, must explain his ambitions in person before Chelsea consider accepting a bid for him.

“I’m not interested in the agent,” Sarri said.

“I want to hear Courtois. If Courtois tomorrow says to me the same [as the agent], then I have to speak with my player, of course. Because I only want players with very high levels of motivation.”

The other condition of Courtois being granted a transfer is that Chelsea secure a replacement before the transfer deadline on Thursday.

Since being appointed as Antonio Conte’s successor at Stamford Bridge this summer, Sarri has yet to work with Courtois and five other players given extended breaks after the World Cup, including Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kanté.

The Italian said that was one of the reasons his team were soundly beaten 2-0 by Manchester City in the Community Shield.

Chelsea looked weak and ill at ease and Sarri said he would rather continue working with them on the training pitch than play the friendly against Lyon on Tuesday.

He said he did not know how long it would take him to embed his style. “So it’s very difficult. It depends on me and it depends on the players. Sometimes [at other clubs] the work has been very long, sometimes not.”

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