Chelsea assistant coach Gianfranco Zola confirmed the club is not willing to sell Bayern Munich target Callum Hudson-Odoi but conceded he could offer no guarantees.
Hudson-Odoi, 18, was on the scorer’s sheet in the Blues’ 3-0 FA Cup fourth-round win over Sheffield Wednesday despite handing in a transfer request.
Bayern have reportedly increased the bid believed to be in the region of €35million but Hudson-Odoi played down the speculation, saying: “I’ll just keep working hard and you never know what happens”.
During the win over Wednesday, Chelsea fans were heard chanting for Hudson-Odoi to stay, a sentiment shared by Zola.
“We want him to stay as well, we were singing for him to stay,” Zola told a news conference via FourFourTwo. “I don’t know, we want him to stay. He has a contract, we are training.
“We believe in what he can do for this team. I don’t think there are many 18-year-old players around Europe that are playing as much as him in a big team.
Christensen's ball 🎯
Hudson-Odoi's touch 👏
And then his turn 🤯
What a beautiful goal 🙌pic.twitter.com/hEtx7quptPThe sought-after youngster recently signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea, keeping him at Stamford Bridge until 2024. Last season looked like it will be...
— Chelsea FC News (@Chelsea_FL) January 27, 2019
“If you look at Juventus, all the big teams, they don’t have many 18-year-old players playing like we do. That shows that we believe in him, we think he can be an important player for us, so we will see what happens.
“We can do as much as we can do. From our point of view, he has a lot of strong players next to him. But we still find the space for him to play. I want to stress, if you look at the big clubs in Europe there aren’t many 18-year-olds playing as much he plays. It means we have trust. And so we are showing this.”
Asked if he could guarantee that Hudson-Odoi would remain at the club, Zola replied: “No, look I am not the club, I work for the club. I can do as much as I can, but then these are decisions that don’t belong for me.
“There is certainly a good understanding between the management and the club, but at the end of the day I cannot say more than that.”
“Did he look like he didn’t want to play?” Zola said. “Also yesterday in training his attitude was excellent, he really played well. Yesterday in training he scored a fantastic goal. He didn’t show any sign [that he didn’t want to play] so that is why he played.”