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Published: 17:39 | 12/1/19

Willian plays down Barcelona speculation

Willian played down talk of a January transfer window move to Barcelona after scoring Chelsea's winner in Saturday's 2-1 Premier League victory over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

Pedro gave the home side the lead after eight minutes with a deft lob over Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka from David Luiz's inch-perfect pass. 

Ireland international Ciaran Clark, who lost Pedro in the build-up to Chelsea's opener, atoned for his earlier error by heading home Newcastle's 40th minute equaliser from Matt Ritchie's corner. 

But Willian secured the points with a brilliant curled finish on 57 minutes from Eden Hazard's pass, as fourth-placed Chelsea took a six-point lead over fifth-placed Arsenal ahead of Saturday's Premier League showdown between the sides at the Emirates Stadium, which will be shown live on BT Sport 1 on the eir sport pack [coverage starts 5pm].

The Catalan giants are reportedly ready to make a £50m player-plus-cash move for Willian, but the Brazil international says he hasn't read newspaper stories linking him with a move away from the club.

"My future is here at Chelsea, I don't know what you're talking about," he told BT Sport 1.

"I didn't see the papers."  

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri insists the 30-year-old, who is out of contract in June 2020, remains a key member of his squad. 

"Willian has to stay with us, very important player, like Pedro, and [Callum] Hudson-Odoi is becoming an important player," the Italian said.

"We need wingers, so we need Pedro, Hudson-Odoi and Willian. He is a fundamental player."

Sarri downplayed suggestions that Chelsea's policy of only offering short-term contracts to players over 30 years of age made Willian's exit more likely.

"I don't know anything abut Willian contract," he continued.

"Maybe he has 12 years on his contract, I don't know the situation about his contract."

By Nick Royle

Photo Getty Images/ Justin Setterfield

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