Antonio Conte will not stand in the way of his Chelsea stars wishing to quit this month to make the World Cup.
David Luiz has had his first-team place at the Blues taken by 21-years old highly-rated Andreas Christensen.
Luiz has been a peripheral figure ever since questioning manager Conte’s tactics in a team meeting at the end of October, playing only one of the 14 games since.
Belgium international striker Michy Batshuayi has stared just two of Chelsea’s 21 Premier League matches over the past five months and none since October. He could be itching to leave as well.
“I was a player,” said former Juventus midfielder Conte, who was part of the Italy squad that lost to Brazil in the 1994 World Cup finals. “I will understand if someone is worried about the World Cup.
“I will understand, at the same time it is very important to keep players very happy to stay here to work with us.
“I prefer to have players happy to stay here than to have players that are unhappy. Because when you are unhappy you transfer this to the other players, to me, to my staff, and I don’t like this.
“If we can avoid this, I’d like to avoid this situation.”
He added: “I’m very happy to work with these players. I don’t see a problem.
“At the same time, I understand if some players are not playing regularly and want to leave.
“My expectation is that all the players we have in the squad will stay here and continue to work.
“Our squad is not big and for this reason it’s impossible to send on loan or sell one player if we don’t sign another player.”