Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has said uncertainty over the ownership of the club could affect contract negotiations with several key players and admitted fears are growing over defender Andreas Christensen leaving this summer.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich are leading the race to sign Christensen, whose current contract expires at the end of the season, as does Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (US only)
– You don’t have ESPN? Access immediately
Roman Abramovich’s decision to sell the club has sparked an outpouring of interest from around the world with groups able to submit a formal offer before the March 15 deadline imposed by Raine Group, the New York-based merchant bank appointed to manage the sale.
Sources have told ESPN that Abramovich has already received several offers for the club, but none have yet matched his £3 billion ($3.94 billion) valuation.
Barca are also pushing to sign Azpilicueta while Newcastle United are the latest of a number of clubs, including Real Madrid and Manchester United, to express interest in signing Rudiger.
Asked at a press conference on Wednesday whether the players involved have been swayed by takeover talks and whether the club could still complete contract negotiations despite not knowing who the new owner will be, Tuchel said: “In fact, I can’t answer the question, I don’t know Does it have an effect on the players? Maybe. We have to ask the players.
“About the club, I don’t know. I think we are capable and I hope we will be. At the moment we are still in March and we have time but of course there are situations that we want have resolved. We have not been able to resolve them.
“It’s not an ideal situation. Besides, the players are doing very, very well, who are worried, I have to say. For that, thanks to the players for that. But it shows the mentality at the club and in the building that it is also normal for them to deliver despite their personal contractual situation and that is what we are counting on Of course, I hope we will have the chance to keep in talks and solve the problems as we want that ‘they be solved for us.’
Christensen has reportedly held talks with Barca representatives in recent weeks and although Tuchel previously said earlier in the season that he believed the centre-back would stay in west London, the head coach has now offered a more optimistic assessment.
“Well, that’s in doubt,” he said. “We hear the rumors and the situation with Andreas has been clear for several weeks and we are not happy about it.
“Because we, me, me personally and the representatives of the club, we think it’s better for him to stay. And we are counting on him a lot. He hasn’t signed yet, so you can’t not communicate .
“It’s also a signal for us and the communication from him is that he hasn’t signed so far.
“So we have to consider the possibility of him leaving us. Are we going to love him? No. Are we going to live with it? Yes.
“Things are not personal, should never, should never be. But it can happen. But I don’t have any other information. Not even information that I don’t want to share, just no information from the all.”
Tuchel has confirmed that he will continue to use Christensen even if he signs a pre-contract with a foreign club, as he is free to do with less than six months remaining on his contract.
“He is still our player and we will do what is best for us until his contract expires,” Tuchel added.
“He’s a Chelsea player, that’s the point, and he knows we value him a lot.
“I think it’s a crucial moment in his career at Chelsea at the moment. I think it’s a crucial moment where he has the chance, at the perfect age and at the perfect time, in terms of the situation. , the system we play, the guys who play alongside it.
“Given all these circumstances, for me this is the defining moment for him to step in and be a great Chelsea player for the next few years.
“If he decides otherwise, I won’t take it personally and ultimately it doesn’t matter if I understand it or not. But I will treat him like my player until the very last day, if he behaves like he behaved.”