Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admits the list of transfer targets he gave new owner Todd Boehly was ‘unrealistic’ and a ‘fantasy’… but claims his side would be able to fight for the title if he got them all
- Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea have had a mixed transfer window this summer
- They have signed the likes of Raheem Sterling but had several deals fall through
- The Blues could still bring in Frenkie de Jong among other star players
- Tuchel hinted that Conor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi could leave
Thomas Tuchel admits the initial transfer targets he gave new owner Todd Boehly to turn Chelsea into title contenders was a fantasy list beyond the realms of achievable.
But, as Chelsea prepare to take on Tottenham today, Tuchel insists the club’s ambitions can be lifted beyond the top-four if they can pull off their final summer signings.
They have Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Carney Chukwuemeka in what is sizing up to be their biggest ever summer spend, with one more signing meaning it would outstrip anything former owner Roman Abramovich did.
Thomas Tuchel has spent £168 million this summer on the likes of Raheem Sterling
Defender Kalidou Koulibaly has also arrived at Stamford Bridge after a £34m move from Napoli
They may yet add Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Leicester’s Wesley Fofana, who is said to have agreed personal terms. And if they do, Tuchel will upgrade his targets.
Asked if he could win the league without more signings, Tuchel said: ‘I don’t want to limit our ambitions artificially in August and I don’t want to put pressure on us by putting out any number that we want to reach. Every team fights for top four in this league and if in March and April you’re in the race, you’re in the race.
‘I gave Todd a list and it would have been possible to fight straight for the title with those signings. But that was a pretty unrealistic list! We can play fantasy football.
‘In the end we need to pay for it, we need to convince players and other clubs to give us their very best players, it’s simply not happening. I’m super happy with what we succeeded with so far. They’re fantastic signings. If it’s not finished, we try to bring further quality and with further quality, of course, the ambition level rises.’
Tuchel’s Chelsea side could still bring in midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona
The biggest summer spend to date for the club was two years ago when they invested £221million, although that came after a year-long transfer ban.
This summer the club has spent £167m, Boehly making good on his promise to invest.
The spending spree does, however, call into question the value of the club’s academy, which had thrived in recent years.
While Mason Mount and Reece James are now established in the team, Callum Hudson-Odoi has been forced further down the pecking order by the arrival of Sterling, while Conor Gallagher’s prospects look bleak after a breakthrough season in midfield on loan at Crystal Palace, especially if De Jong arrives.
Hudson-Odoi did not even make the bench last weekend and the synergy with the academy under Frank Lampard looks like being submerged by transfer activity.
Conor Gallagher is one of two young Chelsea players who could be on the way out
Tuchel has hinted Gallagher and Hudson-Odoi could be sold, with Crystal Palace and Borussia Dortmund respectively pursuing loans. But Tuchel insisted they ought to stay and fight for their place.
He added: ‘In general, nobody is for sale and everybody is for sale. It depends what the player wants, how bad the players wants it, what we think, who is ready to pay a certain amount of money.
‘For Callum, he competes. He had long-term problems to overcome from which he suffered. I think he has still a way to go to live up to his potential, because the potential is huge. Having Raheem in can maybe give him the extra boost to step up.
‘Conor fights in central midfield. It’s a tough fight for him because we only have two places in central midfield, which is a bit unfair given the number of players we have for central midfield. But we have to do what’s best for the squad, not what’s best for every individual player.’