Maurizio Sarri wants to keep Eden Hazard and is looking forward to working with him at Chelsea, cooling speculation linking the Belgium international with a move away from Stamford Bridge.
Hazard has been the subject of media reports suggesting Real Madrid are interested in taking him to LaLiga before the start of the 2018-19 season as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, but Sarri indicated the 27-year-old is very much in his plans.
He also compared Hazard with Napoli attacker Dries Mertens, who became one of the Partenopei's most prolific goal-scorers under Sarri's guidance during the last three years.
"Hazard is a very high level player and I think one of the top two or three European players," Sarri told reporters.
Sarri says Eden Hazard is one of the top two or three European players and he is looking forward to having fun working with him in training and on matchdays. He hopes to improve our Belgian, which he says will be difficult considering he is already at such a high level! #SarriCFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 18, 2018
"I hope that I will manage to improve him. This is very difficult given he has reached a very high level.
"With Mertens it's different. Dries had always been an external striker. Everybody thinks that by necessity he reached a very high level.
"But we are talking about two very high level players. Dries started from lower level. I hope I will improve Hazard too but this is difficult."
Sarri was asked about a number of players linked with moves away from Chelsea and he made it clear that shipping big names out of the club was not on his mind.
The 59-year-old was appointed as Antonio Conte's replacement on Saturday and started working with the players at Chelsea's Cobham training ground this week - without a number of squad members who were recovering after playing at the World Cup.
"I would like to keep them in my squad," he said, when asked about potential approaches for the club's top players.
"A telephone call without looking them in the eyes will not give me any certainty. I would like to meet these players face to face and talk to them and understand what will be best for everyone.
"Before that I would also like a player to come on the pitch for four or five days with me."
|Falcao: I´ve got years left at top level|
|Crawford aims to state pound-for-pound case against Khan|
|How Emery´s numbers compare to Arsenal predecessor Wenger|
|Hendricks leads Cubs to fourth straight win|
|MLS Review: Ibrahimovic, Galaxy continue fine form|
|Raptors hold off Magic, Celtics extend lead over Pacers|
|Valverde wary of ´powerful´ Liverpool|
|Raptors star Leonard played through sickness against Magic|
|Djokovic upbeat over French Open chances despite form dip|
|Zaha hints at Palace exit, eyes Champions League|
|I messed up – Miller speaks out after second failed test|
|Johnson continues good form, Lowry leads|
|DeGrom to undergo MRI for elbow ailment|
|Guardiola is world´s best coach – Valverde|
|Klopp: Liverpool still embracing pressure|
|Medvedev masters Djokovic as Fognini fights back in style|
|Guardiola defends tactics after Man City´s Champions League exit|
|Guardiola: VAR is ´f****** boring to talk about´|
|Norwich City 2 Sheffield Wednesday 2: Late Vrancic stunner secures point for Canaries|
|Kohli hits century as Challengers survive Russell onslaught|
|Miller out of Joshua fight after second failed test, says promoter Hearn|
|Hennessey ´desperate´ to be educated about Hitler and Nazism - Hodgson|
|Spurs are amazing! – Ajax boss Ten Hag relishing Tottenham test|
|Nadal passes Pella test to remain on track in Monte Carlo|
|Championship Review: Ten-man Latics dent Leeds´ promotion push, Bolton relegated|
|Juventus goalkeeper Perin has shoulder surgery|
|We always expect something special from Messi – Valverde|
|The O-Line bond behind two Heisman Trophies - Dru Samia & Ben Powers talk protecting Baker Mayfield|
|Super Saints thrash sorry Wigan as Leeds Rhinos climb off the bottom|
|Ramsey could return in two weeks, says Emery|
|Valverde surprised by Coutinho controversy|
|Sexton, Mako Vunipola return for European Champions Cup|
|Under-strength Hurricanes survive Sunwolves scare|
|Lingard admits top-four finish would be ´massive´ for Manchester United|
|Icardi planning Inter stay - agent Wanda Nara|
|Impossible to recreate Ajax model in Serie A – Spalletti|
|Elijah Holyfield set for NFL armed with fatherly advice and Georgia grounding|
|Guardiola ´delighted´ for Ajax boss Ten Hag|
|He can be an important player for us - Gattuso leaves door open for Silva|
|Medvedev stuns Djokovic to continue dream Monte Carlo run|
|Guardiola: Referees can still make mistakes with VAR|
|Te´o to depart Worcester Warriors amid rumours of Top 14 move|
|Odriozola suffers broken collarbone|
|Sheffield United 2 Nottingham Forest 0: Duffy sends Blades second|
|I really felt for them – Klopp sympathises with Manchester City´s VAR heartbreak|
|Champions League exit no title race advantage for Man City, says Guardiola|
|Mitchell magic seals golden-point win for Roosters|
|Kante: Chelsea not favourites for Europa League|
|Adelaide United 1 Melbourne Victory 0: Blackwood header snatches victory|
|Klopp applauds ´role model´ Salah after making Time magazine cover|
|Fabregas suffers calf injury ahead of PSG clash|
|Ronaldo is the future of Juventus - Allegri defends star after Champions League exit|
|Simeone: Costa issue is resolved|
|Khan always believed big nights would return as Crawford looms into view|
|Liverpool and Manchester City are miles ahead of the rest - Warnock|
|Wilder: Joshua fight is inevitable|
|There´s no other player like him - Rivaldo tips Messi for Ballon d´Or|
|Malone urges Nuggets response to ´hungry´ White|
|Fosu-Mensah returns to Man United from Fulham for knee surgery|
|Solskjaer claims some Manchester United stars ´need a reality check´|
|Brown lauds exceptional Simmons after Sixers take series lead|
|Maitland-Niles buoyed by Emery´s belief in Arsenal stars|
|Durant showed who he is – Kerr|
|Giroud will stay at Chelsea, insists Sarri|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Dodgers hold off Brewers|
|76ers win without Embiid, Warriors bounce back in big way|
|Knicks confident they will appeal to stars|
|Capitals´ Reirden heated after hit on ´defenseless´ Oshie|
|Brady, Edelman react to Gronkowski denting the Lombardi Trophy|