Thomas Tuchel has reiterated that striker Romelu Lukaku will play a “significant role” in Chelsea’s future ambitions, although he acknowledges that Antonio Rudiger may decide to pursue other options this summer.
Despite Chelsea manager Tuchel’s refusal to give up hope of persuading Rudiger to stay at Stamford Bridge, Barcelona representatives met with Rudiger’s agents this week and he may be on his way to La Liga.
In light of Russian owner Roman Abramovich’s sanctions, the west London club is unable to recruit or sell any players under the rules of their existing UK Government license.
The Blues are also unable to pursue new contracts for existing players, despite the fact that Cesar Azpilicueta’s contract extension was made possible by a pre-existing clause.
Tuchel feels Chelsea still has a chance to keep valuable defender Rudiger after the ongoing takeover struggle is resolved, but he doesn’t blame him if the defense talks to other clubs.
“If I were any other team, I would try to meet him,” Thomas Tuchel stated.
“Still, he’s our player, and I believe we have a decent chance of keeping him once things are sorted out for us.” We don’t have any options; we can’t make him an offer, negotiate with his agents, or renegotiate with them. But I’m still optimistic.”
Tuchel: Lukaku is crucial to our plans
Tuchel was asked about Lukaku’s future after the striker’s uncertain return to Stamford Bridge, and he stated that the club-record purchase remains an important part of their plans.
The 28-year-old has recently been overshadowed by Kai Havertz, although he scored in Chelsea’s FA Cup victory over Middlesbrough in March, bringing his season total to ten goals.
“We don’t think about it,” Tuchel stated. “Right now, we can’t talk to players, we can’t sell, and we can’t buy.” Romelu continues to play an important role in our ambitions.
“I see him as highly motivated and capable in the gym. When we play games, we get very interested. He is and will continue to be a winner. In Middlesbrough, he had a good match.
“There is no room for a poor attitude or disappointment right now.” In the final weeks of the season, there are a lot of games to watch. There’s no time to second-guess yourself. We must concentrate. And we need each and every player, even Romelu.”
Captain Azpilicueta has decided to stay
Tuchel believes Chelsea hindered Barcelona’s attempts to recruit Azpilicueta after the Blues captain agreed to a one-year contract extension.
“Yes, I knew it was going to happen because I knew the number of games when it was going to happen,” he remarked when asked about the Spaniard’s condition. It’s a positive development; it’s wonderful news for us.”
Tuchel responded, “Yes, yes,” when asked if he expects Azpilicueta to return to Chelsea next season. We have a contract, and he’s our captain, so there’s a good chance he’ll stay. I’ve known for a long time that something like this will happen.
“He’s a consistent starter for us.” You’re aware of how much I rely on him and how much of an influence he has on this club and group. As a result, it’s really beneficial to us.”