Chelsea have been warned that Sarri-ball may be pushing Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante towards the exits, with Mario Melchiot suggesting that tactical tweaks could lead to high-profile departures.
Two star performers at Stamford Bridge have often been asked to play out of position this season.
Belgian forward Eden Hazard was used as a ‘false nine’ prior to the January arrival of Gonzalo Higuain, while World Cup winner Kante has been moved out of a holding midfield post.
Questions continue to be asked of Maurizio Sarri’s selection policy, with the Italian coach refusing to change his ways, and it could be that the Blues pay the price for the stubbornness of their manager.
Former Blues defender Melchiot has told talkSPORT: “If you play players out of their position, you’re taking away their happiness and when their happiness goes, players are going to start looking at somewhere else.
“Kante is happy doing the job he’s good at, but now Sarri is making him go forward.
“His strength is breaking up play and winning the ball back, and that allows other Chelsea players to take more risks because they have that security of Kante being behind them.
“That security is gone now and if they lose the ball, their opponents come straight at them.
“It’s the same with Hazard – if you want to keep hold of your star players you have to make them feel good about what they’re doing.
“Sarri has started to complain that he dribbles too much with the ball, but what do you want?
“That’s his ability and there is no player who wants to play against him when he does that.
“If you do not want him to dribble, if you want him to play one-touch instead, he should not be in your team.”
Hazard continues to spark talk of interest from Real Madrid and has done little to curb the speculation.
He claims to have made a decision on his future and will be revealing that to the world “soon”.
Kante, meanwhile, has left many confused this season, with Sarri’s decision to remove him from a role in which he is considered to be the best in the world causing widespread bemusement.