Jose Mourinho reiterated his desire for Petr Cech to stay at Chelsea after the player’s agent claimed he was free to negotiate a transfer away for the goalkeeper.
Cech has played second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge this term and persistent rumours have linked him with a move away, with Premier League rivals Arsenal said to be keen on a deal.
The 32-year-old’s agent, Viktor Kolar, further stoked the fires when he told TalkSPORT that his client has been given permission to talk to interested parties.
However, manager Mourinho would prefer to have Cech – who has made just 15 appearances in all competitions this term – at his disposal, and is not expecting major changes to his title-winning squad in the close-season.
“I don’t know if it’s absolutely true what the agent is saying,” he said. “Maybe it is, but Chelsea has an important say in the decision.
“I keep saying the same thing. I want my best players. Petr is one of my best. I would like him to stay.
“I have to say yes I am optimistic that he can be here next year.
“I expect to be a little busy [in the transfer market]. I like my squad very much. It’s a young squad with space to improve.
“Last year I was very keen to sell some players. This year, the base is to keep the squad. We know what we want and, I repeat, it’s not much.”
The champions visit West Brom for their penultimate game of the season on Monday, and Mourinho could welcome top scorer Diego Costa back from a month-long lay-off from a hamstring problem, but the Portuguese confirmed that Kurt Zouma will not be back until next term after he limped off in last week’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
“I think Costa is selected for this game,” he added. ” I cannot confirm now.”