Unai Emery insists Blaise Matuidi is central to his plans at Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 champions prepare to start their title defence at Bastia on Friday.
France midfielder Matuidi has been linked with a move to Juventus, with speculation intensifying on the back of his international team-mate Paul Pogba’s world-record switch to Manchester United.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi stated earlier this week that the club would not consider selling Matuidi, labelling him as “a pillar of the team” and coach Emery was similarly fulsome in his praise for the 29-year-old, who has also recently been touted as a target for Chelsea.
“I want the best players with me, Blaise Matuidi is one of them,” Emery told a news conference.
“I do not take the decision alone, there are three parts: the club, the player and me. I want him to stay here.
“He’s an important player for me because he represents the identity of the team. You have to see what the player wants. The club will see if there is ever an offer from another club.”
Former Sevilla boss Emery got his reign in the French capital off to a spectacular start last weekend as his side ran out 4-1 winners over Lyon in the Trophee des Champions.
He could bolster his forward line by including Jese Rodriguez, who completed his transfer from Real Madrid on Monday, although the match comes too soon for fellow striker Edinson Cavani.
Uruguay international Cavani is still nursing a thigh injury and will target next Sunday’s meeting with Metz at the Parc des Princes, while captain and centre-back Thiago Silva will also have that fixture in his sights as he continues to recover from a hip complaint.
“Jese worked well this week and he has made all the preparation with Real Madrid,” Emery said.
“He will be in the squad for Bastia. He is in the 19 players who will leave. There is a possibility he plays.”
Emery would not be drawn on which goalkeeper will start the match at the Stade de Furiani, with regular number one Kevin Trapp facing competition from Alphonse Areola, who impressed on loan at Villarreal last season and is pushing for inclusion against his former club.
“You know my opinion, I want two good goalkeepers,” he added. “The season is very long, there are a lot of competitions and games.
“I trust my two goalkeepers. If Areola plays I’m sure he will have a good match, as will Kevin Trapp. First I have to talk to them before I say [who will play].”
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