Premier League • England

Tuchel breaks silence on Cucurella, Colwill, Aubameyang transfers; raises Chelsea expectations after Liverpool question

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel alongside Jurgen Klopp

Thomas Tuchel responded to three potential Chelsea transfers, and refused to limit his side’s ambition when pressed on surpassing Liverpool and Man City this season.

The Blues open their season with a trip to Merseyside to face Frank Lampard’s Everton on Saturday. New arrivals Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly are both primed to start, though they may not be the only new signings when matchday comes.

Indeed, Chelsea are in the final stages of wrapping up a deal to sign Brighton’s Marc Cucurella.

A deal worth £55m and a potential further £7m in add-ons has been struck. The Spanish defender has passed a medical and the move is expected to cross the line at some stage today.

Young centre-half Levi Colwill will then move the other way, with Fabrizio Romano reporting a straight loan with no option to buy has been agreed.

Chelsea have seen a £62m bid for Leicester ace Wesley Fofana flatly rejected, while links to former Arsenal striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang continue to grow.

Now, speaking in his Friday press conference, Tuchel addressed several transfer stories doing the rounds.

On Cucurella first, Tuchel said (via Football London): “It’s not done yet. The paperwork is in process and hopefully we can get it done before noon and Marc is our player.”

When probed on if Cucurella’s arrival will take the pressure off Ben Chilwell who is returning from a lengthy injury lay-off, the German added: “For Ben, he is very ambitious as always.

“He looks better and better but at the same time, he needs a little bit more time to adapt to the physicality of the match itself, which is normal.

“It’s a very, very demanding league and we have to take care of him. We can’t just throw him in and see what’s coming.”

Colwill, Aubameyang transfers addressed

Regarding Colwill, Tuchel continued: “It’s a bit hard to judge him. He came back and there wasn’t a lot of time in pre-season because he got an injury.

“At the moment it’s very individual, and if there is the chance for him to have a good loan and develop and improve, we are open to solutions.”

Finally, Tuchel refused to be drawn in on the idea of a reunion with Aubameyang. Tuchel managed the Gabon superstar during their time at Dortmund and Sky Sports’ Dharmesh Sheth recently outlined why a reunion isn’t as fanciful as some may think.

“We will not comment,” stressed Tuchel. “There are lot of names out there. It’s pure speculation and we will not get involved.”

Tuchel eyeing title charge?

On the subject of Chelsea’s Premier League aspirations, Tuchel refused to dampen expectations when asked about catching City and Liverpool.

However, Tuchel is also fully aware the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and Man Utd cannot be overlooked if their season descends into a scrap for top four.

“I struggle a little bit to keep our ambitions down,” added Tuchel when asked about matching Liverpool and City.

“I don’t want to lower our ambitions. But I don’t want to put the pressure on us. We are a club in transition still. A team in transition still. But at the same time, I don’t want to limit us from the beginning and say what is possible.

“Tottenham and Arsenal showed in pre-season and the transfer market – Man United too – that they have a clear target to catch us.

“We’re in the middle of it and it doesn’t help if we break our heads thinking about it. We will have a very competitive team, I am happy with the players that came and made the squad stronger. This is where the focus is.

“The players came late, there are still players to come in. So it is a kind of disadvantage but we have the guys we have and we will push them to the limit.”