LONDON - Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri will tell Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois they are going nowhere in crunch talks with the Belgians on Saturday.
Courtois has been the subject of a £35million bid from Real Madrid but Chelsea do not want to sell at that price. Hazard is also a Real target but Chelsea do not want to let their star player leave ahead of Sarri’s first season in the Premier League.
Both are expected to report to Chelsea’s Cobham training ground on Saturday after helping Belgium finish third in the Russia World Cup. Sarri has insisted since arriving at Chelsea that he would only speak to the duo face to face and the Italian wants to clear the air before Sunday’s Community Shield. Neither will be involved against Manchester City at Wembley.
Courtois is entering the final year of his contract and Chelsea risk losing him for nothing when it expires next summer. Club insiders suggested their stance on the 26-year-old goalkeeper has changed but that they would only sell if they could secure a replacement. They have been unsuccessful, and Real’s £35m valuation was deemed too low.
The Spanish club had offered £100m in a joint bid for Courtois and winger Willian. Hazard has two years left on his £220,000-a-week contract. The offer of an improved £300,000-a-week deal has long been on the table.
Meanwhile, Willian has instructed his lawyers to act on a document that is being circulated, with the Chelsea forward claiming he has been the victim of forgery. Yesterday the Brazilian posted a picture of a letter on Instagram which appears to show his signature authorising an agent to act on his behalf.
In the recent days I have been informed that a “letter of authorization for player agent FIFA”, allegedly signed in my name has been circulated through the football market. In such letter, Mr. Denirobson Dias would grant an authorization to Mr. Renee Pinheiro Anunciação to represent me until 15 August 2018, throughout football clubs in the United Kingdom and France. I would like to clarify that I never signed such letter, the content of which I completely deny. Finally, since there seem to be clear evidence that my signature has been forged, or anyway misused, I hereby inform that my lawyers are already instructed to proceed with all appropriate legal measures before any competent courts or authorities. I hope I have clarified the matter and any possible misunderstanding. Willian Borges da Silva Nos últimos dias fui informado de que uma “carta de autorização para agente de jogadores FIFA”, supostamente assinada por mim, está circulando pelo mercado do futebol. Na referida carta, o Sr. Denirobson Dias concede uma autorização ao Sr. Renee Pinheiro Anunciação para me representar até 15 de agosto de 2018, perante os clubes do Reino Unido e França. Gostaria de esclarecer que nunca assinei tal carta, cujo conteúdo nego completamente. Finalmente, uma vez que parece haver provas claras de que a minha assinatura foi falsificada, ou de qualquer forma mal utilizada, informo que meus advogados já estão instruídos a proceder com todas as medidas legais cabíveis perante quaisquer tribunais ou autoridades competentes. Espero ter esclarecido o assunto e qualquer possível mal-entendido. Willian Borges da Silva
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Willian, who was late returning to pre-season training after his passport expired, has been linked with a move to Real this summer and insists the certificate, which is stamped with FIFA logos, is a fake. The 29-year-old, who was also wanted by Manchester United, denies any involvement and is believed to be furious.
In the Instagram post, Willian writes: "I have been informed that a 'letter of authorisation for player agent FIFA', allegedly signed in my name has been circulated through the football market. In such letter, Mr Denirobson Dias would grant an authorisation to Mr Renee Pinheiro Anunciacao to represent me until August 15 2018, throughout football clubs in the United Kingdom and France. I never signed such a letter, the content of which I completely deny."
He adds there is "clear evidence that my signature has been forged, or anyway misused", and he has initiated legal proceedings. Sarri wants to speak to Willian about his future and to clarify why he was late returning. The manager has said he found it "strange’.