Maurizio Sarri is open to the idea of former captain John Terry joining the Chelsea coaching staff.
Terry left Stamford Bridge after 22 years’ service in June 2017 for a season-long stint with Aston Villa and rejected a move to Spartak Moscow this week.
“The last time I spoke with him he told me that he wants to play for another season,” said head coach Sarri, speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with Cardiff, when Chelsea will be targeting a fifth win from five Premier League games.
“I don’t know now the situation. I’m talking about one week ago. Chelsea is his home, of course.”
Asked about the prospect of Terry returning, Sarri added: “I don’t know. He told me another thing. He told me he wants to play. I don’t know. I have to speak to him.
“For sure he will be a point of reference for me, for everybody here (if he returned).
“It’s up to him. If he wants to play for another season I think it’s right he tries to play. If he wants to help us, I’m very, very happy.”
Chelsea’s perfect start to the season has led to suggestions they can challenge for the title after placing fifth last term, well adrift of champions Manchester City.
Asked which teams are in title contention, Sarri said: “At the moment I can answer City or Liverpool, at the moment.
“We need another step, I think, to be the same level.
“I think so. I hope not. It’s very difficult. The gap was 30 points at the beginning of the season.”
Cesc Fabregas is fit again following a knee injury, but Sarri suggested it may be more beneficial for the playmaker to train this weekend, rather than be a substitute.
Emerson Palmieri, Davide Zappacosta and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have had knocks which could see them miss out.
Sarri is known as a heavy smoker and said during the international break his father was trying to persuade him to quit. It is something the 59-year-old is trying to do.
“Unfortunately at the moment, no. I am trying,” Sarri said.
“My father told me to stop in the last 20 years, I think. He is the only one who (could persuade me).”
Sarri’s smoking ban would be only temporary, adding: “For one, two years, yes. No more. Then I’d like to start again.”