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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

Maurizio Sarri coy on Thibaut Courtois future as Eden Hazard makes his Chelsea return

Deal for Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga set to happen on Wednesday

Chelsea's manager Maurizio Sarri is coy on what business his side will do on transfer deadline day. AFP
Chelsea's manager Maurizio Sarri is coy on what business his side will do on transfer deadline day. AFP

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri refused to shed light on the future of wantaway goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois after his side's penalty shoot-out win against Lyon in their final pre-season game before the new Premier League season starts.

Sarri also revealed he expects Eden Hazard to remain at Stamford Bridge after the Belgium international made his first Blues appearance since Russia 2018.

Belgium international Courtois has been reported to have stayed away from the London club following World Cup duty with Belgium amid speculation of a move to Real Madrid.

"I don't know in this moment," Sarri told a press conference after Chelsea's 5-4 win on penalties at Stamford Bridge when asked of Courtois' future.

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"I want to speak with my club and then we will decide about it. I am here to talk about this match."

Chelsea are reported to have sealed a world record £71 million (Dh337.8m) deal for Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, but Sarri refused to be drawn on any details of the potential signing.

"If I don't know anything about Courtois, I don't know anything about Kepa, of course!" the Italian said.

When pressed on 23-year-old Kepa, Sarri added: "I saw him one year ago. My first impression was that he is a very good goalkeeper, very young, but very, very good."

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Hazard, whose future has been in doubt all summer, was given a rapturous reception by Chelsea fans during their side's penalty shootout win against Lyon and Sarri said he had "no problem" with the midfielder.

Sarri added: "We have spoken two or three times in the last two days. Hazard's problem is not present now."

Courtois was handed an extended holiday after finishing third at the World Cup with Belgium and was expected to return to the Blues' Cobham training base on Monday, but did not attend.

Reports suggested he was also absent on Tuesday, having told Sarri he wanted to leave the club before Thursday's transfer deadline.