Thomas Tuchel believes Andreas Christensen will be making a mistake if he leaves Chelsea on a free this summer and says his players can “fulfil any dream” by staying at the club.
Christensen has not signed a new contract and, with his terms expiring in June, can agree a deal elsewhere. Reports suggest he is close to joining Barcelona but Tuchel cannot comprehend why the centre-back would depart and thinks he should blossom at the club he joined as an academy player at 16.
“There is no need to go now because he is right at the edge to finally take the next one, two, three steps at Chelsea,” the manager said. “I don’t think he is done here.
“That is why I strongly recommended him not to go before it is done. And it is clearly not done. He now has a situation given the formation, given the partners at his side, given his status, given his age: this is his moment. And I cannot understand if he leaves exactly at this moment.”
Tuchel sounded resigned to Christensen’s departure, saying the 25-year-old’s future was “in doubt, we hear the rumours” and Chelsea are “not happy about it”. He continued: “For Andreas we have unbelievably much to offer. It is the club where he came through the academy and I think he has a lot, also, to appreciate where he is right now. He profited a lot from the support, the structure. Now is the crucial moment to step up and be a huge player with this history.”
Asked whether historical giants such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich offered better prospects for footballers than Chelsea, Tuchel said: “There cannot be a big improvement in any other club in terms of organisation, the supporting level for the players, the mentality, the competition in which you play: I don’t see an upgrade in any other club. Of course if you want to have the challenge of a new league and maybe also in money there are some possibilities always available if you’re a top, top player. But you can fulfil any dream here: I think we should not hide from that and we should not be too humble in that.”
Chelsea travel to the Premier League’s bottom club, Norwich, who they beat 7-0 in October, on Thursday as they seek a fourth straight league win. Reece James is doubtful with what Tuchel described as “muscular problems” and could face a spell out. “We are worried,” he said. “A setback for sure – I hope not a big one.”