Maurizio Sarri plans on giving Chelsea’s two best teenagers, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu, the chance to integrate into the first team in the second half of their season, rather than go on a spending spree to plug gaps in the squad. The Blues boss is keen to make a couple of tweaks to his squad in January, but will keep the tinkering to a minimum to give the youngsters a chance.
Hudson-Odoi’s long-term future remains in doubt as he refuses to renew his Blues contract with just 18 months remaining, leaving Bayern Munich hopeful that they can secure a £35 million deal for the 18-year-old in January. Ampadu, who is also 18, signed a five-year contract in October and he has been told by Sarri that he will replace the outgoing Gary Cahill as the club’s fourth-choice centre-back.
Sarri is also hoping to replace the players he has lost in January, as Chelsea negotiate for both Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella and Zenit St Petersburg’s Leandro Paredes to come in for the now departed Cesc Fabregas.
He is also hoping to get AC Milan’s Gonzalo Higuain in as a replacement for Alvaro Morata, who has interest from Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, but he adds that Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu can also provide a boost to Chelsea’s end-of-season chances.
“As I said before, the club knows my opinion, and in my opinion we need two players,” Sarri told reporters at Stamford Bridge after his side’s 2-1 win over Newcastle United. If you ask me something else then I don’t know what to answer because I am not in charge of the market. The bench is not very short. It has been left short in only one position at the moment because I think that Hudson-Odoi is improving.”
“In one or two months he will be at the same level as the other players. I hope the same for Ampadu.” Chelsea’s ultimate aim in the Premier League this season is to finish in the top four, as Willian and Pedro’s goals helped edge out Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.
Jorginho struggled in that match and Sarri wanted to haul him off, but Fabregas’ departure left him short of a player that can play in what some term as the ‘regista’ role. Sarri admitted that his £57m signing from Napoli wasn’t good enough and spoke about potentially using Ampadu in that role.