Sarri accepts Fabregas departure, urges Hudson-Odoi to stay

Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi kicks the ball during the English FA Cup third round soccer match between Chelsea and Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge in London, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas applauds the supporters at the end of the English FA Cup third round soccer match between Chelsea and Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge in London, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. Chelsea won 2-0. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON — As Cesc Fabregas prepares to leave Chelsea, a player at the other end of his career has been urged to stay at Stamford Bridge and start fighting for a regular starting place in the team.

Fabregas is expected to join French team Monaco in the coming days, bringing an end to his 4 1/2-year stay at Chelsea and likely his time in English soccer after a previous eight-year stint at Arsenal.

"In my opinion, he needs to go," Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said on Monday, when asked about the 31-year-old Fabregas.

"You know very well the situation. You know very well in this club there is a rule: The renewal of players over 30 is usually one year. He has an offer for two years. I don't want a very important player as Cesc unhappy."

Fabregas appeared to say his goodbyes to Chelsea's fans on Saturday during and after the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup.

The possibility of 18-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi also leaving the club was raised last week by Chelsea assistant coach Gianfranco Zola, who said Bayern Munich was "very interested" in the highly rated teenager. British media have reported the German champion is ready to spend 30 million pounds ($38 million) on Hudson-Odoi.

Sarri said Hudson-Odoi had a "very great future here with the national team and with Chelsea."

"To stay here is better for him," Sarri said. "He is very young but he is improving, especially in the defensive phase. I don't know the situation with the club but for me he is an important player."

Hudson-Odoi has made only one appearance in the Premier League for Chelsea, with Sarri preferring to use him mostly in the Europa League, but that could be about to change.

"We have very important players in the same position," Sarri said. "Sometimes he will be on the bench — as Willian, as Pedro — but now I can start to consider him at the same level."

Hudson-Odoi set up both of Chelsea's goals against Forest.

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More AP English soccer: https://apnews.com/PremierLeague and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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