London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel expects the London team to face a period of “rebuilding” following the London club’s planned sale.
The Blues are blocked from making new signings or securing existing players to new deals under the strict terms of the temporary British government licence.
Owner Roman Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just days before he was sanctioned by the government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After a lengthy bidding process, a consortium led by by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly has won the battle to buy the Premier League club in a £4.25 billion ($5.2 billion) deal.
The government, however, have yet to grant a licence to complete the sale — the final step of the purchase process — amid concerns over Abramovich’s links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Chelsea will lose Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona on free transfers at the end of the season and there is no certainty over their replacements at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel’s team are third in the Premier League ahead of their penultimate game of the season at home to Leicester on Thursday, but are 19 points adrift of second-placed Liverpool and 20 behind leaders Manchester City.
“You ask many times if we have a delay in approaching players and making plans; of course, a huge delay,” Tuchel told a pre-match news conference on Wednesday.
“We are affected by it, players are going out. We are rebuilding, not improving the squad. This is always challenging but we are up for the challenge.”
The German, who saw Chelsea suffer an agonising penalty shoot-out loss to Liverpool in the FA Cup final at Wembley last weekend, added: “I don’t know where we are from day one.
“What I can promise is that I will be here — if I can promise that. I will be here with full energy and positive energy.
“It will be very challenging to make up for the disadvantage, given the situation of the other two teams, City and Liverpool, who are already improving the squad and set one benchmark after the other in all aspects of the game.”
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