In his over 10 months in charge at Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel has barely made any missteps on and off the pitch.
On the pitch, he has transformed Chelsea’s squad, taken the club to a Champions League crown and now hopes to wrestle the Premier League title away from his mentor Pep Guardiola.
Off the pitch, his calm and humble demeanour has consistently made his press conferences easy viewing for supporters. However, on Tuesday preceding the trip to Watford, there was a difference in tone when asked about the current contract situation over Andreas Christensen who has not played since the 5th of November.
“I have no good news. It was my understanding weeks ago that Andreas wants the same as me and the club.” Tuchel said.
The cloud of doubt looming over Christensen’s future in west London is nothing new, becoming a consistent topic of conversation since the summer as his current deal expires next year.
Football.London thought the deal on a new contract had been agreed before an unexpected delay to negotiations when Christensen’s team wanted renegotiation, with the idea of a shorter deal. There is still a belief it will be done on Chelsea’s part though this was prior to Tuchel’s comments on Tuesday.
“This is why, for me, it was a zero-problem situation because everybody wanted the same as I understood it.
“We are waiting a long time now for confirmation. It’s on Andreas to act how he acts on the pitch off the pitch and walk the talk.
“He tells us he loves Chelsea, that he wants to stay and be a big part because he is a big part of a big club. I think he is the perfect fit, he is not done yet here, his career here is not finished.”
These are strong words from the usually measured Tuchel, a figure who when usually pressed on internal matters like transfer rumours, contract speculation or else prefers to remain coy and reserved.
But these are quotes that the club surely knows will spark a reaction from supporters concerned about Christensen’s future and subsequently, what it could do to negotiations with the defender which have not been settled.
Christensen has not played since the 1-1 draw with Burnley at the beginning of the month where he was part of a backline whose lapse in concentration lead to a costly equaliser.
Tuchel seemed to infer from his press conference that his exclusion since is connected to the contract standoff when asked if he had any worries his absence from the team could hurt negotiations?
“No, the opposite,” Tuchel said with a chuckle. “We have the hope it influences the contract situation a little bit.
“My understanding was it was a matter of a very short period that we have good news. I said this around the international break that it’s for me a matter of days that we think we can have good news about Andreas.
“As I understood it, the club wants the same, the player wants the same, and the coach wants the same: to stay. That’s why we need the commitment and we can continue.”
Christensen could be in line to return on Wednesday evening away to Watford given the need to rotate during such a congested period of fixtures.
Could this be a motivational tactic from Tuchel to evoke a response from the player?
Even still, Tuchel’s almost damning verdict which asks for commitment could be thrown towards any of the other players with contract doubts, most obviously Antonio Rudiger.
Rudiger’s contract negotiations have appeared stagnant for months with the defender stating he will keep his options open and not sign anything until the January transfer window, where he can also begin to speak with other clubs.
Given Rudiger’s importance to Tuchel’s current starting lineup, the lack of movement on negotiations with Marina Granovskaia would lead to similar feelings over a lack of long-term commitment, wouldn’t they?
Especially with rumours of Bayern Munich, PSG and Real Madrid continuing to gather momentum.
This is why a very public challenge to Christensen and his representatives has to be taken seriously, especially coming from the mouth of such a PR-savvy figure like Tuchel.
Maybe the reason for this unexpected outburst is due to the club’s feeling that Christensen, at the age of 25, is the more vital contract to secure given Rudiger is close to entering his thirties.
The value on Christensen could only increase as he enters the prime years of his career following his strongest run of form in a Chelsea shirt under Tuchel.
I would agree with this stance, given there are more complexities to meeting Rudiger’s demands than some would like to accept – which I covered here.
But this public outing could do the opposite and worsen Christensen’s stance rather than aiding it.
In the past few years, it has been claimed that the club has been hesitant to let their academy graduate depart due to fears of another Kevin De Bruyne situation emerging.
That was at a time when Christensen was struggling for form under Frank Lampard, with little sign his transformation under Tuchel a realistic prospect.
Tuchel’s headline-making quotes can be viewed as a variety of things. An act by a coach to provoke a response from his player ahead of an important game or the club relaying a feeling of frustration over a sudden blindside in negotiations.
I personally feel there is a bit of both here, Tuchel is a very intelligent mind who understands the political aspect of the club he coaches, a line he has treaded superbly since arriving.
It would be incredible to think with such a position of power in the dugout currently, Tuchel would jeopardise that flippantly without knowing the consequences.
His words probably speak to just how valuable a figure Christensen is at Stamford Bridge, which is probably why this deal will eventually be resolved.
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Source by Football London