Luiz prioritises Chelsea stay but contract talks yet to start

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David Luiz is prioritising staying at Chelsea after rapidly building a positive relationship with manager Maurizio Sarri, Goal understands.

Sarri has connected well with the 31-year-old defender, who became an outcast during Antonio Conte's final season which almost led to the Brazil international leaving the club in the summer.

Having leaped back above Andreas Christensen and Gary Cahill in the centre-back pecking order, Luiz has created a solid partnership with Antonio Rudiger and he has started every Premier League game this season.

Napoli and Monaco were both interested in signing Luiz over the summer but were warned off him after Sarri's pre-season established that he still had a Chelsea future.

Luiz is out of contract at the end of the season and free to talk to other clubs in January, but the player’s interest in staying should see negotiations run smoothly between both parties once talks officially start, with Chelsea's club policy being to only offer one-year deals to players over 30.

Sarri has spoken of his support for a player who has won the Premier League, two FA Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League across two spells at Stamford Bridge, recently backing Luiz for his contribution both on and off the pitch.

"It's not even only about the physical aspect but also about the mental one," Sarri told Gazzetta Dello Sport. "David Luiz [has] surprised me by his availability and cleverness."

Luiz finds himself in the same position as many other Chelsea players whose contracts expire on June 30 next year. The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Cahill, Olivier Giroud and Willy Caballero have all yet to begin talks with the west Londoners.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are also looking to renew deals for Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante.

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Chelsea are hoping to tie Kante down to a new record-breaking £290,000-a-week deal, although that figure could quickly be usurped by any new contract for Hazard, which could break the £300,000-a-week barrier.

In addition, Ruben Loftus-Cheek will likely have a meeting in the upcoming weeks to discuss his situation, but he has improved his status within the squad in recent months and remains hopeful of a long-term future at his boyhood club.

Danny Drinkwater will be allowed to exit Chelsea after an underwhelming £35-million move from Leicester in 2017, which has seen the 28-year-old feature just 12 times in the Premier League and not once since Sarri replaced Conte as manager.