Maurizio Sarri thinks it is “impossible” for Willian to leave Chelsea in January despite reports suggesting he could be part of a swap deal with Barcelona involving the out-of-favour Malcom.
Brazil international Willian was the subject of strong speculation in pre-season, with Barcelona reportedly having offers for him rejected.
In the end, Barca signed Malcom from Bordeaux to bolster their wide options, but the 21-year-old has hardly featured, playing just five times in LaLiga.
Malcom cost Barca €41million and his slow start has seen a number of transfer and loan links crop up, with Everton originally thought to be front-runners before Marco Silva denied interest.
When asked if he would be happy for Willian to leave, Sarri told reporters: “Of course not, because as you know a winger for us is very important.
“I think he can do better, because the potential is higher, but he’s very important for us, so I think it’s impossible to lose him in January.
“I didn’t receive anything [about Willian] yesterday [Thursday]. You’ll have to ask the club and ask about the market, because if you ask me about the market you put me in trouble, because I don’t know.”
Elaborating on his desire for Willian to play at a higher level, Sarri wants the winger to show more initiative off the ball and to make himself a bigger threat in the penalty area.
“Usually he wants ball on the feet, so I think he can improve in movements without the ball,” Sarri said. “He has the potential to score more.”