Maurizio Sarri open to John Terry returning to Chelsea as coach
LONDON -- Maurizio Sarri has said he would welcome John Terry back to Chelsea in a coaching capacity when the 37-year-old finally decides to finish his career, adding that he would provide a "point of reference" for everyone at the club.
Terry turned down a lucrative one-year contract from Spartak Moscow this week after a late change of heart, but has been open in his desire to play on for one more season and has been linked with a return to Aston Villa.
Sarri has spoken to Terry about his plans, and said that the former Chelsea captain will always be welcome back at the club that he considers "home" if he wishes to return.
"The last time I spoke with him he told me he wants to play for another season," Sarri said of Terry. "I don't know now the situation, but Chelsea is his home, of course.
"Of course [I am open to the idea]. He would be a point of reference for me and everyone here. I don't know [if there is a chance]. He told me other things, he told me he wants to play. I have to speak to him.
"It is up to him. If he wants to play for another season, it is right he tries to play. If he wants to help us I am really very happy."
Sarri was asked whether Terry could return in a playing role or strictly a coaching one.
"I think in the coaching staff, I think. Because, as I said before, I want to give space to the young players," he said. "Fortunately, we have very strong young players: [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek, [Callum] Hudson-Odoi, [Ethan] Ampadu... and I'd like to give them the right space."
Ampadu made headlines with his composed performances at senior level for Wales during the international break, and Sarri said that he hopes to find minutes for the 18-year-old as well as Chelsea's other talented youngsters on the fringes of the first-team squad as the season wears on.
"I'm very happy for him," he said of Ampadu. "At the moment, for me, it's not easy to give space to everyone. I have 28 players. But I hope, in the future, I think I will be able to give him space, to give a space to [Hudson-]Odoi, to [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek. They are very, very young and they are, for sure, the future of the club."
With Ampadu's stock rising, Sarri said he could feature for the Chelsea first team in the coming future.
"In this first period, for me it was very important not to change -- especially the defensive line," he said. "But I hope in the future to be able to give space to everyone, even the defenders."
Chelsea are likely to be without Emerson Palmieri and Davide Zappacosta against Cardiff City on Saturday after both players returned from Italy duty with fever-like symptoms, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is struggling with a tibial problem sustained with England.
Cesc Fabregas, however, has rejoined full training and is fit enough to replace the 22-year-old on the bench, though Sarri said he will be cautious with the Spaniard's recovery.
"Fabregas now is very well," he said. "He's training with the team during the week, so now he has only to improve his physical condition. I think that, in a few days or a week, he'll be ready to play.
"I think that, at the moment, Fabregas can be available for the bench, but I want to speak to him. I think it's maybe better to have two days of training [rather than being involved this weekend]."
Cesar Azpilicueta will again lead out Chelsea against Cardiff despite the fact that Sarri has not decided on his permanent captain, as the Italian wants to discuss his choice with the players and the club before making his appointment public.