London (AFP) – Thomas Tuchel says he will put a competitive Chelsea team on the pitch next season irrespective of the constraints on the club as a result of their asset freeze and impending sale.
Russian owner Roman Abramovich put Chelsea on the market last month following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and was subsequently targeted by UK sanctions.
Chelsea have been unable to renew contracts for existing players and are effectively under a transfer ban under the terms of a strict government licence.
Three rival bidders are hoping for a decision from New York merchant bank the Raine Group this week on a preferred bidder for the club.
Chelsea have lost ground on their rivals over recruitment for next season, although they still hope to bring in new players and have been linked with Sevilla defender Jules Kounde.
But Antonio Rudiger is reportedly close to agreeing a free agent deal at Real Madrid and fellow defender Andreas Christensen is believed to be set to join Barcelona when his contract expires in the close season.
When asked on Wednesday whether he would be able to field a competitive team next season, Chelsea boss Tuchel said: “In the end it’s my job — no matter how the situation will be solved and when it will be solved, and how things will be settled in the end, and how active we can be on the transfer market.
“Can we react, and in which frame we can react? At the end we will dig in and we will try to squeeze out everything of the squad that we have.
“Hopefully, and I know myself, I will again fall in love with a squad that I have then, and try to push the squad to the limit.”
Tuchel, whose side face Manchester United in the Premier League on Thursday, hailed Rudiger as a “huge factor” at Stamford Bridge, saying the centre-back would be much missed in the dressing room.
But the German said the focus was still on this season, with third place in the Premier League at stake as well as an FA Cup final to come against Liverpool.
“Like it or not there will be life at Chelsea after Toni. Now for him and for us the most important thing is that it ends like it started, on the highest level possible,” he said.
“This is where the focus needs to be now.”
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