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Photo: Reuters

Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen has been linked with a move to Barcelona, with the Spain giants keen on signing a new centre-back.

Christensen was a key player under Antonio Conte last season, but has found it difficult to get into the first team under Maurizio Sarri.

Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz are Sarri’s first choice centre-back pairing, while Christensen has made just one Premier League this season and although Sarri insists he wants the 22-year-old to remain at the club and fight for a place, former Chelsea star Michael Essien believes it is normal for the 22-year-old to want an exit.

“Every player wants to play,” he said. “Chelsea isn’t an easy place to come and the competition is very fierce.

“At the end of the day, all the players work but it’s the manager who will pick who he wants to play.

“When you’re not playing you get frustrated and you want to look elsewhere.”

Sarri has recently rebuffed claims that Christensen will move to Barcelona.

“I think Barcelona yesterday signed a new centre-back,” Sarri said last week. “Christensen is out of the market. He’s an important player for us.”

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