Premier League • England

Tuchel confirms critical ‘good news’ about Chelsea defender before explaining benefit of transfer block

Thomas Tuchel Chelsea March 2022

Thomas Tuchel believes the fact that Chelsea cannot currently make any signings or sales may actually be beneficial, rather than a hindrance – but welcomes the news that Cesar Azpilicueta can stay.

Until a takeover of the club goes through, Chelsea are blocked from doing any kind of transfer business. What’s more, they are unable to negotiate new contracts with any of their players. It has led to uncertain situations for many.

Three of their defenders – Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen – have been approaching the end of their contracts. It would be helpful for Chelsea to keep any of them, but that looks tricky.

However, a clause in Azpilicueta’s existing deal means reaching a certain number of appearances can trigger an extension. Reports have been circling with information that he has met the necessary criteria.

Tuchel has now been able to confirm the good news for Chelsea with regards to the Barcelona target.

Of the contract extension, he said: “I knew it was going to happen because I knew the number of games. It’s good news for us.

“We needed to make him stay and make his contract extend. So that makes me happy. You know how much I rely on him.”

There are no such protections for Chelsea when it comes to Rudiger and Christensen, though.

The former will have plenty of suitors, while the latter may already have an agreement with Barcelona.

Tuchel said of Rudiger: “The situation is the situation. Our hands are tied. We can’t speak to him or offer him.

“We can’t negotiate with his agent so fair enough if he listens to other offers. But I’m still confident.”

Rudiger to be tempted by Juventus as Chiellini replacement

Rudiger to be tempted by Juventus as Chiellini replacement

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger will reportedly be promised the role of heir to Giorgio Chiellini if he is to join Juventus in the summer.

And asked if the Barcelona claims are true for Christensen, he replied: “We heard the same rumours.

“I have no confirmation for you because I’ve not spoken to Andreas about it at the moment. But we’ve heard the same rumours.”

Despite Chelsea’s inability to plan for potential replacements and targets in other positions, Tuchel is content with where they are at.

Indeed, he views it as being beneficial to their focus for the remainder of the season.

He explained: “It’s impossible to plan for the summer. It’s why we don’t do it. Maybe it’s an advantage because we don’t get distracted.”

Tuchel not drawn on Lukaku question

Romelu Lukaku representing Chelsea

Likewise, Tuchel cannot respond to claims of Romelu Lukaku potentially leaving Chelsea to return to Italy.

The striker joined them from Inter Milan last summer, but has found that he was a better fit for his previous club.

However, Tuchel still thinks the Belgium international has the motivation to do well with Chelsea while still at the club.

He reminded: “We can’t talk to players. We can’t sell or buy. So at the moment, we don’t think about it.

“I feel him motivated and very strong in training. Very involved when we do the games.

“He is a winner and will stay a winner, he will stay important for us. He had a good match against Middlesbrough that was a big boost for us and important for him.”

Chelsea team news for Brentford game

Chelsea are due to play Brentford at home upon their return from the international break. Tuchel only has two absentees for the tie.

He confirmed: “Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell will miss the game. Callum still feels his Achilles a little bit and has lower back problems. Everyone else was in training.”

That includes Reece James, who is “ready to go” according to his manager.

Tuchel was also able to provide fitness updates on Christian Pulisic and Thiago Silva.

He revealed: “Thiago is a bit different than Christian because he didn’t play the third match against Brazil. He came back one day earlier and didn’t have the same jet lag.

“For Christian, we have to decide. He didn’t train today. We gave him a recovery session.

“He was here but very tired with the jet lag and time difference. So we have to figure out if it makes sense to play him tomorrow and for how many minutes.”

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