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Sources: Chelsea won't axe Sarri, Juve to pay

Sources: Chelsea won't axe Sarri, Juve to pay

ESPN

New Chelsea signing Christian Pulisic has said he wants to fill the void left by Eden Hazard should the Belgian leave for Real Madrid this summer. 

Chelsea signed Pulisic for £58 million (€64m) from Borussia Dortmund in January, a record fee for a U.S. player, although he remained in the Bundesliga for the rest of the 2018-19 season.

Pulisic could be the only new face to arrive at Stamford Bridge this summer with the prospect of a two-window transfer ban hanging over the club, while sources have told ESPN FC that Hazard wants to complete a move to Real as soon as possible, with the winger's final game for Chelsea likely to be against Arsenal in the Europa League final on May 29.

But Pulisic, 20, has said he is ready to replace Hazard should he exit Stamford Bridge this summer and has set his sights on emulating the Belgian, who has lit up the Premier League since his arrival in 2012. 

"It is incredible to see what Eden can do. He is a guy to look up to and what I would love to become," Pulisic told BBC Sport. 

"It is definitely a goal. Any player would be dumb not to want to be in the same team as him."

Hazard led Chelsea in both goals and assists as the club finished third in their first season under Maurizio Sarri, scoring 16 Premier League goals while setting up another 15. Pulisic, meanwhile, scored on the final day of the Bundesliga campaign to take his season tally to four, although the forward was hit by injuries during the year. 

During his time in Germany, Pulisic became the youngest non-German to score a Bundesliga goal and the youngest player to play for Dortmund in the Champions League. He is also the youngest player to captain the U.S. men's national team, but says he is motivated to set new records now he has arrived in the Premier League.

"I don't want to be looked at as someone who is the youngest to do this or that," Pulisic said. "I just want to be an established player and someone people respect, who is successful in this league.

"It is completely new to me and something not a lot of American players have experienced. It is a blessing to be in this position, so I can inspire American kids, to show them we can do it too."

Pulisic also wants to help Chelsea close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool, who finished 26 and 25 points ahead of the Blues last season respectively. 

"Liverpool and City are two great teams who had great seasons but I have seen Chelsea compete against big teams and do well against them this season," he said. 

"We want to go in with a winning mentality and compete with them right away."

LONDON -- Juventus will be forced to pay up if they want to make Maurizio Sarri their next coach with Chelsea not minded to sack the Italian regardless of whether or not he wins the Europa League final, sources have told ESPN FC.

Sarri's future remains far from certain despite fulfilling his primary objective of securing Champions League qualification for Chelsea, and Roma have also been linked with a move to bring the former Napoli boss back to Serie A.

Sources have told ESPN FC that while Chelsea are prepared to negotiate a compensation package with any interested club if Sarri makes it clear that he wants to leave, they have no plans to dismiss him even if he fails to win a first piece of major silverware at Arsenal's expense in Baku.

Sarri was appointed Chelsea head coach on a two-year contract with an option for a third worth around £5 million per year last summer, and it is believed that any interested club would be required to meet this figure in order to release him early.

Chelsea have fired a succession of coaches at vast expense during Roman Abramovich's ownership, with a report in The Times claiming that Antonio Conte is due £9m in severance pay after a Premier League arbitration panel ruled in his favour. There is no desire at the club to bankroll Sarri's departure.

Sarri has repeatedly insisted that he wants to remain in the Premier League, but numerous reports in Italy have claimed he is privately more open to the idea of going back to his homeland after a rollercoaster first season in English football.

Chelsea have struggled to replicate the swashbuckling style that earned Sarri gushing praise in his three seasons at Napoli, while relations between the Italian and a large section of match-going supporters have been toxic for some time.

There is hope at Chelsea that Sarri could yet oversee significant improvement if given a full preseason to implement his tactical system, but it is tempered by fear that many of his harshest critics at Stamford Bridge will never accept him.

Derby County manager Frank Lampard has been tipped as the front-runner to replace Sarri should the Italian leave this summer, though sources told ESPN FC that no talks have yet taken place between the clubs.

ESPN