Chelsea latest news: Now Ethan Ampadu can prove he is central to Maurizio Sarri’s plans

Chelsea latest news: Now Ethan Ampadu can prove he is central to Maurizio Sarri’s plans

Ethan Ampadu has the chance to make Maurizio Sarri’s decision to let Gary Cahill leave Chelsea in January a lot easier on Thursday
Ampadu is finally set to start his first match of the season in the club’s last Europa League group stage game
With Chelsea already in the last 32, having cemented top spot, one might assume there is little for Sarri’s men to play for against MOL Vidi
However, with the injured Cahill left in London, Ampadu has been gifted an audition to impress in central defence
It is a surprise that the Chelsea coach has not given the 18-year-old more game time since taking charge in July, given the undoubted talent Ampadu possesses on the ball as well as in the tackle
One suspects, Sarri has been caught between keeping an experienced figurehead happy and thinking about the future
Cahill has not been settled at Chelsea for some time.As Standard Sport first revealed in July, he wanted to quit Stamford Bridge last summer to get more first-team football
Then, two months later, after no move materialised, the 32-year-old spoke passionately about Chelsea repaying him for seven years of stellar service by allowing him to depart smoothly in the next window
The club’s run in the Europa League run has made Cahill think twice, because there is the possibility of an eighth winners’ medal to collect
But Sarri has increasingly left him out of late and now there are suggestions Arsenal want to sign the ex-England international on loan as cover for the injured Rob Holding
It would not be the first time a Chelsea veteran has moved across the capital.Petr Cech was allowed to make the switch to Arsenal for £10million in 2015 after 11 seasons as a Blue
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich acquiesced because of Cech’s outstanding contribution to the cause — and Cahill would expect similar treatment
The difference this time is this move would come mid-season and the two clubs look set to fight it out for a top-four place until May
Even if Cahill chose to take another option elsewhere, Sarri is clearly torn.He values the centre-back’s ability as a player and as a leader around the camp
But he sees others, perhaps including Ampadu, as better ball-playing options in central defence
As Sarri explained: “I respect Gary very much because he won everything with this club, but then I have to do my job
Maybe he is the best defender inside the box, but I have to think our centre-backs pass 100-110 balls in the match and so I need defenders that are very [good] technically
“It’s not my decision [whether he stays], the problem is up to him and the club.He is in the last year of his contract, he has to decide for a new contract here or with another club
For players over 30, the club usually offers only one year of contract, so if he has an offer of three he can decide for something elsesigned a new five-year deal in September, but he will still want the club to back up that show of support by playing him
MOL Vidi will put him to the test because the Hungarian club are level on six points with BATE Borisov, albeit behind on goal difference, for the second qualifying spot in Group L
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has faced a challenge winning over Sarri himself, but is in no doubt that Ampadu can make the grade at Chelsea
He is a great boy,” he said.“I’m really happy that he is at Chelsea and doing well when he plays
If he gets the chance to play against MOL Vidi, I’m sure he will do well.He is mentally strong and has a great attitude
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