Premier League • England

Chelsea concerned as Ten Hag, Conte out to thwart Tuchel summer plan amid ‘nightmare’ situation

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel during Champions League quarter-final second-leg clash against Real Madrid

Thomas Tuchel will ask the next owners of Chelsea for two new centre-backs, but the Blues boss could find that task extremely difficult, a report claims.

Chelsea have enjoyed a wealth of defensive options this season including Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva. However, the elephant in the room has been the contract situations of most of those players.

Silva, 37, has signed a new one-year deal, but Rudiger and Christensen are likely to leave as free agents. While Real Madrid lead the race for the former, Christensen is supposedly moving to Barcelona.

As a result, Chelsea will have Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr as their senior options at the back.

The Telegraph therefore reports that Tuchel will ask Chelsea’s new owners – who remain undecided – for funds for two new centre-backs.

However, the newspaper claims that many top European clubs, including in the Premier League, are also looking for new defenders.

New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is reportedly after a centre-back signing to help get his project off the ground. Meanwhile, Tottenham manager Antonio Conte will ask for two such signings if he stays.

As such, Chelsea could find themselves with similar transfer struggles to the ones they endured in 2018.

Jules Kounde and Wesley Fofana Chelsea’s main targets

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana are major targets for Chelsea this summer as they look to replace Antonio Rudiger who’s is going to Real Madrid

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois demanded Chelsea sell him to Real Madrid or lose him for nothing in 2019. The Blues wanted Alisson Becker, but Liverpool signed the Brazilian from Roma.

Liverpool’s splurge initially became the world record fee for a goalkeeper. But Chelsea, in serious need of a new stopper, beat that by paying £71million for Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga.

As for who Chelsea could sign this summer, they came close to a deal for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde last summer. Recent reports have claimed that Leicester’s Wesley Fofana is on their radar.

Newcastle could yet push prices up following their takeover and subsequent wealth of funds.

Chelsea, Tuchel facing Lukaku ‘nightmare’

Chelsea stars Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Romelu Lukaku

Amid the search for new signings, though, the report claims that Chelsea sources also feel concerned about talks with current players.

In particular, sources told The Telegraph that Romelu Lukaku’s situation will prove a ‘nightmare’ for Chelsea’s new owners.

The striker, re-signed by the Blues for £97.5million last summer, feels concerned about his future.

He has struggled to fit in under Tuchel and outed the manager in December. Lukaku claimed that Tuchel’s choice of tactics has left him high and dry in the battle for regular game time.

Crucial summer for Tuchel

The situations in both the recruitment and player retention departments for Chelsea make it almost a perfect storm to greet the club’s new owners.

The fate of the club has not yet been decided, but whoever steps in will hit the ground running.

Chelsea had hoped to battle Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title this season following their Champions League success last term.

And the loss of two key centre-backs will make it a crucial summer transfer window if they are to keep their momentum.