LONDON, December 31 – Guus Hiddink says Cesc Fabregas is happy at Chelsea amid speculation he could soon be the subject of a big-money bid from Italian clubs.
The Spain midfielder has been linked with both Juventus and Inter Milan following a poor half to the season at the Premier League champions, whose fall from grace has been well-documented.
But Hiddink, interim manager until the end of the season following Jose Mourinho’s sacking, gave no indication that Chelsea would sell, and that the player himself seemed content.
“We need all the players here until the end of the season,” he said. “Chelsea are still in a position where we have to improve to get up the table, so we need all the players at the moment.
“He’s coming in with a smile, which is what I always like. They come in with a smile and not a worn out face.”
Fabregas missed Monday’s 0-0 draw at Manchester United because of a temperature but is now back in training at a time when a number of players are either still unavailable or doubtful for Sunday’s London derby at Crystal Palace.
“Cesc was in this morning and trained,” Hiddink said. “We played a game with the academy, and he did play a full game. He was out of his temperature problems.”
Defender Gary Cahill and striker Loic Remy are receiving treatment, the Dutchman confirmed at a time when Falcao, the on-loan forward, is still injured.
“Falcao has the same injury as last week when we tested him, and Remy is also doubtful,” Hiddink said. “Gary Cahill didn’t go on the pitch this morning, which means he has also a little problem.
“But we have several days to go to prepare, so I’m not negative regarding Gary Cahill.”
Remy rarely starts a game and is the subject of some very public interest from fellow Frenchman Remi Garde, the Aston Villa manager in need of goals to take his side off the bottom of the Premier League. But Hiddink said: “He’s our player. We don’t go into that.”
Hiddink also refused to go into any detail on plans to bring in new players, with a forward to take the burden off Diego Costa, another man struggling to hit the heights of last season, the priority.
But one man who knows how to score at Stamford Bridge does appear to be close to a return as Didier Drogba is keen to leave the MLS to rejoin a club where he has already enjoyed two trophy-laden playing spells.
Whether the 37-year-old will pull on his boots again seems unlikely as Hiddink has him earmarked for a coaching role with ambassadorial duties.
“Those rare kind of ex-players with this big status really would be very good for any club to have, especially him because he’s a Chelsea legend,” he said. “But he has a contract with Montreal at the moment, and we have to respect that also.
“His role will depend on the player himself. You have to give them time and opportunities to find out what’s best for them. It might be on the coaching staff, or ambassador.
“Those guys need to be in the squad helping younger players, all the players, with their huge experience. I’m not in favour of a big ambassador travelling the world in a tie. I think they must give their huge experience to all, especially young kids, but also the older ones when they are in trouble in their career.”
Hiddink does have an extra striker in his ranks now that Patrick Bamford has cut short his loan spell at Palace because of a lack of playing time.
But Hiddink gave no indication that Bamford would get a game for Chelsea either, especially as his return has to be officially agreed.
“That’s also an issue between the two clubs, us and Palace,” he said. “The managers and directors will talk about that situation.”