David Luiz believes that his “fantastic friend” Willian loves Chelsea and will not be leaving the club, but is less sure about the futures of Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard.
The trio have all been touted for potential exits from the club over the summer, with Barcelona pursuing Willian in a £60 million ($78m) move before eventually signing Malcom instead, while Courtois and Hazard have both had continued links with Real Madrid.
Goal understands that contract offers are on the table for the duo, although with the transfer window closing for Premier League clubs on Thursday, there is little time for the Blues to potentially find replacements.
Luiz is, however, keen to see all three of the club’s top stars stay put, and has no doubt that Willian will still be a Chelsea player when the window slams shut.
“We are friends for a long time. Since the beginning, he told me he loved Chelsea,” Luiz said of Willian. “To leave Chelsea, he would have to do something totally out of reality, or if he really wanted to leave, or if Chelsea really wanted to kick him out. This is not the reality. Chelsea loves Willian, Willian loves Chelsea, so that’s great.
“He’s a fantastic player and a fantastic friend. I’ve known Willian since I was eight, so a long time. Willian loves Chelsea. He already showed his quality, so I want him to stay.”
The defender continued: “Chelsea wants the best players to stay. They know Chelsea a lot, so they know what they’ve had here, the fun they’ve had here. Everybody loves them [Courtois and Hazard] and I hope they can stay.
“Of course. I think Chelsea has a fantastic squad, with fantastic players. I want them to stay, because we have top players with confidence. [But] if they decide to leave, I think we will continue with fantastic players.”
Hazard and Courtois will meet with Sarri on Monday to discuss their futures face-to-face, with the forward appearing more likely to stay than the club’s No.1 goalkeeper.
Luiz himself, meanwhile, looks set to play a pivotal role this season after starting in every pre-season game, including the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday.
The 31-year-old was a peripheral figure last season having only played 17 times under Antonio Conte. While he is pleased with the new era that is getting started under Maurizio Sarri, the Brazil international insists that he would have stayed in west London even if Conte had remained as manager.
“Yes [I knew I would stay]. I was just working, and trying to do my best, and start this new season with a new coach,” Luiz explained. “He said to me, ‘everybody has the opportunity’, you just have to show him character, physical quality, technical quality, so since the first day I’m trying to do that.
“I was thinking to stay here because I have a contract. [Pep] Guardiola is a fantastic coach, and also Sarri is a fantastic coach. At the moment I’m in love with his philosophy, with the way he works, the way he is training, the way he loves football.
“Everything: the way he thinks about football, the way he loves football, the way he works with us, the way he sees the details, the things he can see. He just tries to help us to understand his philosophy and then after that, the collective results are going to be on the pitch.”
Under the former Napoli boss Luiz is switching from playing in a back three, which was favoured by Conte, to a back four.
Doubts have previously been cast over the centre-back’s ability to perform in a four-man defence, but Luiz is not concerned about his ability to line up in that system.
“I have won 17 titles in my career, and only two of those [playing] in a back three,” said the defender. “It doesn’t matter, you just have to understand the collective philosophy. If you win, it’s good – it’s always like that. I’m always happy to do my best to help the coach and the club.”
“I hope we can understand it quickly and can fight for all the titles. When you play for a big club you have to be ready to try to fight for the titles, and we’re going to fight for that.”
The downside for Luiz is that the match against the Premier League champions offered Sarri’s Chelsea something of a wake-up call, after impressive performances against Inter, Arsenal and Perth Glory in pre-season.
“It was a difficult game against one of the best teams in the world, everybody knows that,” he said. “We have started a new philosophy, a new method, with a new coach. City are in the third consecutive year with the same coach, the same philosophy.
“In the first year, there was a struggle and it was not easy [for them] to understand the Guardiola philosophy, and now you can see every single one knows what they have to do on the pitch. We are starting now, building a new philosophy with a new manager, so it’s never easy to play against them. It was a great game, congratulations to them.”
Chelsea face Lyon in their final pre-season game on Tuesday, before they open their Premier League season with an away trip to Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon.