August 10, 2018 / 3:17 PM / 4 months ago

Sarri rules out Chelsea exit for Hazard

(Reuters) - Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri believes his squad is “complete” following the arrivals of Kepa Arrizabalaga and Mateo Kovacic, and said he does not expect Eden Hazard to leave the club before the European transfer deadline on Aug. 31.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FA Cup Final - Chelsea vs Manchester United - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 19, 2018 Chelsea's Eden Hazard in action REUTERS/David Klein

Chelsea broke the world record fee for a goalkeeper when they signed Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for 80 million euros (£71.65 million), before securing a season-long loan deal for midfielder Kovacic from Real Madrid.

Spanish media have reported Hazard as a transfer target for Real Madrid throughout the close season.

When asked about the prospect of a foreign team making a move for Chelsea players, Sarri said: “It’s impossible because, here, the market is closed. We cannot change important players now.

“Hazard is with us. I think, definitely. Not a problem. I have spoken with him three or four times for everything. He never said something about the market, so I think he’s very happy to stay here.”

Arrizabalaga has the daunting task of replacing World Cup Golden Glove winner Thibaut Courtois, who established himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League after arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2011.

Sarri conceded Arrizabalaga will need time to adapt to the English game but praised Chelsea for acquiring “one of the most important” young goalkeepers in Europe.

“I’m very happy for both because Courtois’ situation was clear,” Sarri said.

“He wanted to go to Madrid so we lost maybe one of the most important goalkeepers in the world. But we bought a young goalkeeper, one of the most important among the young goalkeepers in Europe, so I’m really happy.

“(Also) for Kovacic, because he has the right characteristics for us. He is a very technical player who can play between the lines of the opponent. I’m very happy and now I think the squad is complete.”

Chelsea will kick off their league campaign against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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