Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink says he will not allow Brazilian forward Kenedy to leave in January and plans to hand opportunities to more of the club's young players this season.
Kenedy signed for the Blues after successfully securing a work permit in the summer and was immediately included in the first-team squad by former manager Jose Mourinho, rather than sent out on loan.
He has made eight appearances for the club in all competitions this season but with Chelsea now fighting to salvage something from their miserable campaign, reports have suggested clubs may come back in for the former Fluminense starlet.
Firenzeviola.it suggests Fiorentina are exploring the option of signing the youngster but Hiddink insists there are no plans to allow him to leave.
"Chelsea for the rest of season – as long as we have the possibility to go for fourth place – will of course go for that. Meanwhile, when it is not happening, maybe step by step young players will get the chance to participate in the first-team squad," Hiddink told a press conference ahead of his side's Premier League meeting with West Brom on 13 January.
"We have some youngsters, I happen to know them better now every day. I have a good impression of all the guys. He [Kenedy] is one of those guys who will stay until the end of season as we might need him. He came in the last game and I think he started well. I liked his penetration.
"But then you see every now and again it [their form and consistency] is up and down, so that is why they need to play. They get a lot of experience on daily basis practising with the experienced guys so for the moment he will stay until at least end of the season."
Chelsea have moved up to 14th in the table having not lost since Hiddink's appointment in December 2015. The reigning champions are still 19 points off leaders Arsenal and 13 off fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur, though.
While the club have not given up on a Champions League place, Hiddink suggests the second half of the season could be an ideal time for the club to blood some of their younger players to prove they can handle the responsibility of playing in the first team.
He said: "I've not set a points target. It's also not an issue bringing in youngsters, because also the youngsters must also learn to work under this pressure. As long as we have a mathematical chance to go fourth I won't hesitate to bring in youngsters. It's not that we will wait until there is no chance to go there [fourth] no, but they must have the basic quality."