Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola has revealed that he would keep Andreas Christensen at Stamford Bridge amid his expiring deal.
The Dane sees his contract at the club expire at the end of the current campaign, with the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona having emerged as suitors for his services.
His departure would of course be a blow for the Blues and boss Thomas Tuchel and would exacerbate a key problem facing the club, with Christensen’s defensive colleagues Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta also potentially departing west London at the end of the campaign, too.
Chelsea will hope to negotiate extended stays at Stamford Bridge between now and the end of the campaign but Zola has stated that just two are likely to remain – his picks being Christensen and somebody else.
Speaking to The Sun, the Italian said: “We are talking about two of them being key players and have been very successful at the club. Right now, they are playing all the time — that is Rudiger and Azpilicueta.
“The third one (Christensen) hasn’t played as much but is the youngest. You don’t want to lose players when they have been so good like Azpilicueta and Rudiger.
“At the same time, you don’t want to lose a good prospect like Christensen.
“I think we will see two stay — but don’t ask me the names. Luckily, I am not Tuchel and it is very easy for me not to answer the question. I would maybe keep the young one and one other.”
Christensen – valued at £31million by transfermarkt – would probably be a surprise option to stay at Chelsea over both Rudiger and Azpilicueta.
The Danish international is slightly lower in the pecking order than the aforementioned duo having made just 18 starts in all competitions this season, whilst he has also been forced to sit out the last four Premier League games.
Elsewhere, Rudiger has become a key cog to Tuchel’s Chelsea system, whilst Azpilicueta has of course written himself into Blues folklore with his consistent performances since his arrival from Marseille back in 2012.