Monday, September 27, 2021

Tuchel to focus on own squad while Lukaku speculation persists

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Aug 2021

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Thomas Tuchel refused to speak about the potential signing of Romelu Lukaku ahead of Chelsea’s Super Cup final against Villarreal on Wednesday.

The reigning European champions have repeatedly been linked with the Belgium forward, with a deal reported to be in place for a club-record £97.5 million fee.

Despite Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge appearing imminent, Tuchel instead chose to focus on his own squad and insisted he would not discuss potential transfer news.

“I’m absolutely not in a position to announce anything,” the Blues manager said in Tuesday’s news conference. “I will maybe refuse to talk about it, because it’s a matchday -1 press conference ahead of a final. It’s clearly not the moment for personal discussions of our squad.

“I have a lot of trust in our existing squad, we have proved already that we can be a strong side. I talked many times that we discussed our ideas over how to improve the squad, which is not easy.”

With Olivier Giroud, who netted five times in Chelsea’s Champions League-winning campaign, departing for Milan, Tuchel did admit his squad is missing a “certain profile” of forward.

Lukaku appears to perfectly fit the job description, having fired in 24 goals from 36 appearances as Inter collected their first Scudetto since their 2009-10 title win.

“We need to wait and see what’s possible and not possible,” the former Paris Saint-Germain head coach continued. “We are not panicking, we are happy to work with this team and arrive with the team tomorrow.

“Today there is nothing to announce. It will always stay like this: I will not talk about it until the moment we have something to be announced.”

Antonio Rudiger, whose imperious Champions League final performance helped secure victory over Manchester City, praised Lukaku’s attributes.

“You can obviously see from the body type that he [Romelu Lukaku] is a beast, someone who is very strong and I think he has shown that in Italy for the past two years,” the centre-back explained in Tuesday’s pre-final news conference.

“He did very well over there and also for his national team. He is a goalscorer, for me, a top striker.”

Chelsea’s Premier League rivals have enjoyed productive transfer windows in comparison to the Blues, with the likes of Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and Ben White all moving to fellow challengers.

But Tuchel insisted his own players, such as Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, will prosper in their second seasons as they continue to adapt to English top-flight football.

“I always said that we will be happy with the same group again, if we start the next season with it I’d be a happy coach,” Tuchel added.

“We always try to improve the squad from outside, but at the same time we believe in the development of our players.

“Other clubs have signed heavily, which is their right, and it’s good for the league and a huge challenge to compete with them.

“But, in the end, football is a team sport and we have a strong squad with belief, one that we will keep on pushing. We are in discussions with the board, but it’s not hectic – no stress.”

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