Sarri backs Higuain to succeed if Chelsea can bring him back next season

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Maurizio Sarri has backed Gonzalo Higuain to succeed at Chelsea if the Argentina striker secures a second season in the Premier League.

Chelsea boss Sarri insisted he wants to keep the on-loan Juventus striker at Stamford Bridge next term, despite the Blues remaining subject to a FIFA transfer ban.

The Stamford Bridge club has launched an appeal against the two-window transfer embargo, but Sarri claimed he could cope even if he is unable to make any summer signings.

Higuain has scored just three goals in 11 games for Chelsea, with the club needing to pay 36million euros (£31m) to bring him in permanently from Juventus.

Asked if he wants to keep Higuain, Sarri said: “Yes of course, but it depends on the club, it depends on Juventus. It’s not clear the situation at the moment.

“I think that he has to improve physically (and) mentally. But I think also that he will be able to be very useful for us in the last part of the season.

“You know very well that it’s not easy in the first months to play in the Premier League. It was a problem also for (Luis) Suarez. In the first season at Liverpool he only scored four goals but in the second season he scored 17 goals.

“So it’s not easy for a striker to play immediately well in the Premier League. I think he has time for improvement.”

Chelsea were hit with the two-window transfer ban by FIFA last month, over breaching rules concerning overseas players under the age of 18.

The Blues’ appeal will be heard on April 11, but Sarri remains phlegmatic about the possible hindrance that embargo would cause.

Asked if it is tough to prepare for next season in the shadow of the transfer ban, Sarri said: “No, because I am really very confident in my players.

“We have a lot of young players, very good, they are improving. And so if they are able to improve we will be probably a better team in the future.

“So I am not worried about the market, but I am confident in my players.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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Sarri hails Loftus-Cheek for blossoming into "complete" midfielder

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Maurizio Sarri has hailed Ruben Loftus-Cheek for blossoming into a “complete” midfielder under his stewardship at Chelsea this term.

Chelsea boss Sarri believes Loftus-Cheek has rounded out the defensive element of his game, so is now ready to feature regularly for the Blues.

But Sarri also conceded Loftus-Cheek’s long-standing back problem continues to hinder his progress.

“Now tactically Loftus is a very good midfielder,” said Sarri.

“At the beginning of the season he was a very offensive midfielder. Now he is complete I think. Maybe he’s ready to start most of the games, but we need to check every day the condition of his back.

“This morning he had only a recovery session. Because he needs time to recover after a match.

“The problem in this moment is only that probably he’s not able to play for 90 minutes.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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Arsenal face nervy wait on fitness of Koscielny and Xhaka ahead of Everton clash

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Arsenal will hand late fitness tests to Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka ahead of Sunday’s fixture at Everton.

Koscielny and Xhaka have been struggling with respective foot and groin injuries but Aaron Ramsey is fit after a minor groin problem of his own.

Lucas Torreira remains suspended, Danny Welbeck is out with an ankle injury, and knee issues continue to sideline Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding.

Provisional squad: Leno, Cech, Maitland-Niles, Lichtsteiner, Jenkinson, Mustafi, Koscielny, Mavropanos, Sokratis, Monreal, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Elneny, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Suarez, Ramsey, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nketiah.

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