Maurizio Sarri says he won’t stand in Gary Cahill’s way if the defender wants to move on in January, and the Chelsea boss explained why he hasn’t been picking the 32-year-old regularly this season.

This week, there have been plenty of rumours circulating that Arsenal could be interested in a move for Cahill in January. Unai Emery is running low on centre-back options, what with all the injuries in the back line this season, and the English defender seems to be out of favour at Chelsea.

Sarri spoke to the media ahead of Thursday’s Europa League game against Vidi, and he explained that Cahill isn’t in his plans for the season.

“I respect him very much because he has won everything with this club, but I have to do my job,” Sarri said. “Every match I have to choose. For me, he is not able to be on the bench.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Gary Cahill of Chelsea signs autographs prior to the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 20: Gary Cahill of Chelsea signs autographs prior to the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

“Maybe he is the best in the box, but our defenders may play 100 or 110 balls in a match so I need defenders very technically. It is not my decision (whether to keep him), but it is up to him and the club.

“He is in the last year of the contract, he has to decide for a new contract here or another club.”

That’s not exactly surprising to hear, as Cahill has played just 21 minutes of Premier League football this season. He’s made the Chelsea squad for just six of their 16 league matches, but he has started all but one of their seven Europa League and League Cup games, captaining the side on each occasion.

The question is whether Unai Emery would be any more comfortable than Sarri signing a defender who isn’t as strong technically. Undoubtedly, Arsenal could use a defender with experience who can strengthen the side without possession. If that comes at the expense of being able to play out from the back though, it may not be worth it.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.