LONDON — Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said he is “not interested” in the threat that Andreas Christensen could ask for a transfer in January if he does not play more, but added that the defender has a future at Stamford Bridge.
Christensen’s father and agent Sten told Danish television on Friday that his son does not want to leave Chelsea on loan again and will seek a permanent exit if his opportunities do not increase.
Sarri has employed a back four and returned David Luiz to the starting XI alongside Antonio Rudiger, leaving Christensen — who broke into the team at the expense of Luiz under Antonio Conte last season — out.
But speaking in a news conference ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Manchester United on Saturday, the manager said: “The father? I’m not interested… the father? No.
“What can I say? I think that, in the first part of the season, David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger have played really very well, so it’s not easy to change.
“I think, also, that in our last six matches, Christensen has played in three of them. So I think for his father, maybe the Europa League is not important. But for us, it’s important.”
Christensen has voiced frustration at the situation, describing his lack of minutes under Sarri as “very difficult.”
Sarri, however, stressed that he rates the 22-year-old highly and intends to involve him more as the season progresses.
“He is very young,” the Italian added. “I think he has to improve. But I think that he’s a technical defender, so I think he is suitable for me and my way of football. I think that, in the future, he will be available to play very often.”
In an interview with Danish television, Sten Christensen said he did not consider a loan move in the New Year to be a viable option.
“If his situation doesn’t change around Christmas, we’ll obviously schedule a chat with Chelsea and say: ‘OK, what can we do for Andreas? Can we move him?'” he said.
“For me, it’s not a loan again. Either it’s Chelsea or else he needs to leave. I don’t think a loan is the optimal situation for Andreas. It’s sort of either or.
“I think, unfortunately, Chelsea have too many players who just go out on loan if they aren’t going to use them, and I don’t think Andreas should get caught in that.
“I’m of the conviction that we’ll attempt to move Andreas in the winter time [if he is not playing]. Around Christmas, something else needs to happen.”
Christensen has come closer than any Chelsea academy graduate since John Terry to establishing himself as a regular, starting 23 Premier League matches last season at the heart of a back three.
Selling him would be a difficult decision for Chelsea, particularly given that Luiz, keeping him out of the team, is 32 in April and out of contract in June.