Chelsea’s Sarri: Higuain move soon, Hazard ‘has to do more’

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Maurizio Sarri is excited to be reunited with Gonzalo Higuain, pending a couple of passed physicals.

The Chelsea manager admitted that his former Napoli star striker is all but a member of the Blues, with Higuain in London for a medical with the Stamford Bridge outfit. Chelsea will take over Higuain’s loan from Juventus and would have an option to buy the player in the summer.

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AC Milan will replace Higuain with Krzysztof Piatek of Genoa, the latter undergoing a physical of his own.

Both have been playing regularly and passed summer medicals for their current clubs.

Sarri is not worried about Higuain’s relatively dry patch in the goal department, citing his prolific career record which includes 23 goals for Juventus last season.

“This season he had some troubles but I think that’s part of every player’s career, you have your down moments,” Sarri said. “We hope we can regenerate him quickly so he can pay us back with his goals. It’s very difficult in January to find one of the most important strikers in the world. So I think the club is working very well because it’s not easy to get a new striker.”

Higuain has eight goals this season, breaking a long run without scoring on Dec. 29 with a finish against SPAL.

As for the man who could set up Higuain to feast, Sarri praised Chelsea’s gamebreaking Eden Hazard but admitted there are issues with the often unsettled megastar.

“I think that he said that coaches told him that he needed to do more. I think he has to do more because the potential is higher than the performances I think. So he has to respect first of all himself, he has to do more.

“I don’t know in this moment he is more an individual player than a leader. He’s very important for us because he’s a great player. He always can win the match in two minutes. Sometimes in one minute. But at the moment he is not a leader.”

It’s hard to lead when you’re unwilling to commit your future to a club. Hot take: It would make a lot of sense for Chelsea for find a way to move Hazard now. His value is going to go down in the summer, and January has a premium on players. Find a player who can function in Sarri’s system, let Callum Hudson-Odoi get a bit more time, and move on from the Belgian.

As good as Hazard is — and he’s one of the best talents in the world — he is also a common thread across teams that have performed and under-performed under three managers. The four players who’ve spent time under Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, and Sarri are Hazard, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Willian, and David Luiz. Cahill and Azpilicueta are amongst Chelsea’s captains, while Luiz spent two years at Paris-Saint Germain during that span.