Chelsea manager Mauricio Sarri already has an idea of how Callum Hudson-Odoi will figure into his plans next season despite reports linking the unsettled teenager with a move this summer.
On the heels of Hudson-Odoi’s impressive England debut, Sarri couldn’t avoid questions about the talented youngster, who’s reportedly eager to leave the club after turning down Chelsea’s £85,000-a-week offer in January.
“I think so,” Sarri said when asked if he thinks the 18-year-old will be at the club next season, according to the Evening Standard’s Simon Johnson. “I’m not able to say if he’s going to sign a new contract or not, but I think he will stay here with us in every case.
“I think the evolution is the right evolution. Probably, he will play 30-to-35 matches in the next season. And so I think that, with Callum, we are on the right path.”
Hudson-Odoi has yet to start a match for Chelsea this season but reportedly caught the eye of German giants Bayern Munich.
Chelsea, however, are reluctant to part with him and are reportedly in the process of considering an offer worth £100,000-a-week to keep him at the club beyond 2020 when his current contract expires.
Sarri admitted he barely watched Hudson-Odoi during his time with England but said the forward still has plenty of room to improve.
“I don’t know (if it’s time for him to start a Premier League game). I know very well the situation because, in the last season, Callum was only 17 and he played three or four matches, I think.
“In this season, he is really very young – only 18 – but, at the moment, he has played 19 (times). We have to play eight matches in 28 days and so I am sure that Callum will start in two or three matches.
“He is doing very well, but he needs to improve more because the potential is really very high. And so I don’t want him to stop improving. Because he can become, I think, one of the most important players in Europe. But he needs to improve more. So the risk is to stop improving.”
Hudson-Odoi reportedly had to seek treatment after he and other England teammates were subjected to racist abuse in Montenegro. Sarri said he doesn’t plan to address the issue with his young player but was sure the incident hasn’t had a negative impact on Hudson-Odoi.
“Of course he is very young, but I think that he is really very strong,” Sarri said, according to Agence France-Presse.