Thomas Tuchel’s next priority as Chelsea boss faces potential crisis next summer

There is a tangible sense of positivity around Stamford Bridge in the early weeks of the campaign but there is a potential crisis awaiting the club next summer for Thomas Tuchel

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Thomas Tuchel previews Spurs v Chelsea

Chelsea have enjoyed an encouraging start to the season with 10 points from their opening four Premier League games and making a winning start in the Champions League.

The Blues have conceded just one goal across those five matches – a penalty at Anfield – and have been built on a strong defensive unit in the opening weeks.

Yet there is an impending contractual situation at the club that must be addressed in the coming weeks and months which boss Thomas Tuchel will be aware of and keen to clarify.

Four of the club’s defenders will see their contracts expire at the end of the current season with the risk that multiple players will depart as free agents if no new deals can be agreed.

Thomas Tuchel is aware Chelsea have an issue with defender’s contracts


Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

The long-serving Cesar Azpilicueta is out of contract alongside three central defenders: Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.

Each of those four players have entered the final year of his contract and all will be able to sign pre-contract agreements with clubs outside England from January ahead of free transfers next summer.

The most notable name on this list is the German defender Rudiger, who has grown into an increasingly crucial player under Tuchel and one of the first names on the teamsheet.

It is claimed that contract talks have stalled between the former Roma player and Chelsea which has alerted multiple clubs around Europe to put the framework in for a move next summer.

Rudiger had totally fallen out of favour at the Blues under previous boss Frank Lampard but has enjoyed a transformation of fortunes under Tuchel, who has selected him in 31 of his 36 matches.

The 28-year-old played every minute of the Champions League knockout stages last season and has been a fixture in the heart of the Blues backline this campaign.

Tuchel on Friday stressed his desire for a solution to be found on Rudiger’s situation: “I hope that they find a solution but it’s not only between coaches and players.

“It’s between the club and the player’s agent.

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“He plays excellent for a long time – very consistent [and] at a very high level. I feel him very calm, very focused and it’s obviously not a distraction for him.

“So give things time – sometimes it needs a bit longer, sometimes things get very fast. There’s no news from my side.”

“I think Toni feels very, very good at Chelsea. He feels respect from his team-mates, he feels the importance he has in the team. It’s well deserved because he delivers.

“He feels the love from the supporters. He plays in the strongest league in Europe and in a big club, so not many reasons to change. But it’s in good hands. I’m calm and relaxed – whatever has to happen will happen.”

Having undergone peaks and troughs in form since moving to Stamford Bridge in 2017, Rudiger has grown into a favourite both for Tuchel and the Blues fanbase, who will be seeking quick clarification on his long-term future in West London.

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