Thomas Tuchel accepts Chelsea are in for a “very, very demanding summer” regardless of how the club’s ownership situation plays out, but says he is committed to staying at the club and putting them back on the front foot.
It has been nigh-on impossible for Tuchel to make active moves in the transfer market while Chelsea remain up for sale, and even if a deal was concluded imminently there would be ground to make up in pursuing targets. That is doubly inconvenient given that key defender Antonio Rüdiger has announced he will leave, and another centre-back, Andreas Christensen, is also likely to depart.
Tuchel was asked, with reference to Ralf Rangnick’s recent remark that Manchester United require “open-heart surgery”, about the kind of work his side must undergo and said he faced a complicated task.
“Cosmetic surgery,” he said, with a laugh. “I would be less concerned if we still had the same ownership, if we could rely on our structure. As this is in question we are aware of the danger that the situation is maybe a bit more complex.
“And it can be complex enough if you lose a player like Toni, and maybe lose another like Andreas, both of them free. It is demanding nowadays in football to lose this kind of quality, even if everything else stays in place. So with this in question it can be a very, very demanding summer.”
Tuchel, whose side face United on Thursday and hope for Chelsea’s first win at Old Trafford since May 2013, admitted he was behind schedule in lining up recruits for next season.
“You’re never fully sure, but we would have some targets and we would for sure have contacted some players and found out about their situations,” he said. “Now our hands are tied: we can still have the talks inside the building but we cannot act.
“The situation is not ideal. It would be challenging enough with a stable situation. We don’t have that so everyone is doing it for the first time.
“And we try to show our commitment, our passion, for it and maybe it is very important for me to give this message: I’m committed, I’m looking forward to it and I’m passionate about it. And as soon as we can act we will try to turn things around and make it, from a disadvantage, maybe an advantage.”
Rüdiger and Reece James have returned to training before the visit to United, where Tuchel will face an old mentor in Rangnick, and Chelsea hope Christensen will have recovered from a sickness issue. All three players missed Sunday’s win over West Ham.