May 9, 2019 / 4:04 AM / 12 days ago

Soccer: Sarri hopeful of 'one or two players' as Chelsea fight transfer ban

(Reuters) - Chelsea need to sign “only one or two players” to bolster their squad for the next season if they manage to overturn or postpone FIFA’s one-year transfer ban, manager Maurizio Sarri has said.

Soccer Football - Europa League - Chelsea Press Conference - Cobham Training Centre, Cobham, Britain - May 8, 2019 Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley/Files

The world soccer governing body on Wednesday upheld Chelsea’s transfer ban after they were found guilty of breaching rules on the transfer and registration of overseas players under the age of 18.

Chelsea refuted FIFA’s findings and said they would appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Sarri said the Premier League club needed to invest in the market to close the gap on league leaders Manchester City and Liverpool.

“I don’t believe when you buy 10 players,” Sarri told reporters on Wednesday. “I think we have to buy only one or two players.

“It’s very difficult to cover the gap at the moment. We need to work, probably we need to do something from the market. It’s not easy, because the level of the top two is very, very high.

“Otherwise it’s very difficult to improve immediately. I think we are a very good team, so we need only one, two players, no more.”

Sarri said he had not yet discussed the situation with the club’s hierarchy as he prepares his squad for Eintracht Frankfurt’s visit for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday. The first leg ended 1-1.

“We didn’t speak about the market,” the Italian added. “Also because, at the moment, we don’t know if we’ll be able to go into the market.

“If the club is banned from making any transfers, then we’d have to keep the squad we have and bring some of the loan players back in, and that would give them an opportunity to play more.

“But, for me, that’s not something that should be used to get an opportunity to play. It should be down to hard work and playing well.”

While Chelsea cannot register players for their senior team, the FIFA’s Appeal Committee decided the club can still sign players under the age of 16.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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