Maurizio Sarri has explained why he's told Gary Cahill he can leave Chelsea in January

Chelsea v Derby County - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

Gary Cahill’s future at Chelsea has been up in the air since the moment Maurizio Sarri was appointed in the summer.

The 32-year-old - who was the Blues’ captain under Antonio Conte last season - is very much out of favour with the new boss.

After starting 50 Premier League matches during the two previous campaigns, Cahill has since been limited to a mere 21 minutes of football in the top-flight.

He has played the full 90 in each of his four Europa League appearances, though considering the calibre of the opposition on each occasion, it’s no wonder the veteran isn’t satisfied.

With no cause for his fortunes to change, Cahill it’s likely to call Stamford Bridge home much longer.

In fact, Sarri has shared his decision ahead of the January transfer window.

“I respect him very much because he has won everything with this club, but then I have to do my job," he said of Cahill, per ESPN.

“Every match I have to choose. For me it is not [possible] to have him on the bench.

"Maybe he is the best [of our defenders] in the box, but our defenders may play 100 or 110 balls in a match so I need defenders [to play] very technically.

“It is not my decision, it is up to him and the club [whether he stays]. He is in the last year of the contract, he has to decide for a new contract here or another club.

“For the [players] over 30 the club usually offers only one year of contract. If he has an offer of three years [somewhere else] he can of course choose something. It doesn't depend if I am sentimental or not.”

Chelsea v PAOK - UEFA Europa League - Group L

Fair play to Sarri for being so open with a player in a difficult situation.

The essence of ‘Sarriball’ is quick distribution and in truth, it’s difficult to imagine Cahill pinging around passes like David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger do.

According to ESPN, though, Arsenal have identified the England international as a potential signing to fill the void left by Rob Holding following his cruciate ligament injury at Old Trafford last weekend.

That same report claims Manchester United’s Eric Bailly is also on the Gunners’ radar as Unai Emery seeks to inject more Premier League experience into his squad.

So, perhaps Cahill can look forward to his next club being a step sideways rather than one down.

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