Maurizio Sarri believes it is impossible for Willian to leave Chelsea in January amid reports of the Blues winger being the subject of a cash-plus-player bid from Barcelona.
Willian featured prominently in the rumour mill in pre-season with a host of clubs reportedly interested in securing his signature. The list included Barca, who reportedly had an offer rejected by the west Londoners. While the Brazil international ultimately decided to stay at Stamford Bridge, owing largely to the arrival of Sarri as head coach, Barcelona instead signed Malcom from Bordeaux.
Willian to Barca in cash-plus-player deal?
However, the 21-year-old winger has rarely played for the Catalans, with only five appearances in La Liga. As such, rumours of transfers and loan moves have surfaced recently for Malcom. Reports suggested Barca had made a swap deal for Willian, an offer consisting of £49 million plus his compatriot.
Sarri, though, thinks that the Blues star will be staying put at Stamford Bridge. The Chelsea head coach also reiterated Willian’s importance as a wide man to the squad.
“Of course not, because as you know a winger for us is very important,” said the ex-Napoli head coach. “I think he can do better, because the potential is higher, but he’s very important for us, so I think it’s impossible to lose him in January.
“I didn’t receive anything [about Willian] yesterday [Thursday]. You’ll have to ask the club and ask about the market, because if you ask me about the market you put me in trouble, because I don’t know.”
Areas of improvement for Willian
The Chelsea boss then explained how Willian can further up his displays on the pitch. Sarri cites off-the-ball movement and penalty box instinct as areas for improvement for the Brazil international.
“Usually he wants ball to his feet, so I think he can improve in movements without the ball,” Sarri said. “He has the potential to score more.”