Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel delivers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Denis Zakaria updates after late transfers

·3-min read
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel delivers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Denis Zakaria updates after late transfers

Thomas Tuchel has no concerns over 'top character' Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after he joined Chelsea, but admits the club did spend “too much money” this summer.

The 33-year-old striker was one of two deadline day signings for Chelsea, along with Juventus midfielder Denis Zakaria, that took the club's spend on incoming transfers to a single-window record £273million.

Speaking ahead of his side's clash against West Ham after deadline day, Tuchel lauded his reunion with Aubameyang, with whom he worked closely at Borussia Dortmund.

“There was only one incident (at Dortmund), it was not about timekeeping but the rule we set between the matches," Tuchel told reporters at Cobham. "He forgot about that rule and visited his hairdresser. I guess that was it! Nothing big, never a big issue.

"He has a big problem with his time but also he never misses a meeting or something like this. But the 60 minutes to arrive in training before is a struggle, sometimes it’s 58 or 59 minutes.

Chelsea sign Aubameyang

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"He is never a concern. He has a top heart, he is a top character. This is how I knew him. I’m 100 per cent sure he will fit into our dressing room. While he was my player he was always positive, never missed a training session, and was never injured. Hopefully, it will stay like this."

Unfortunately, Chelsea will have to wait to use their £12m signing from Barcelona due to him suffering a fractured jaw during an armed robbery at his family home in Catalonia shortly before the move.

Chelsea will also have to wait before playing Zakaria, who is still waiting for his work permit and remains in Italy. But injuries have eased with only N’Golo Kante out of the match against West Ham.

“At the moment he [Aubameyang] cannot train," Tuchel added. "We have to make sure he gets a mask to protect his jaw. Then we can start to try with a mask next week.

"It’s only N’Golo out. Everybody else is in training. A group of 19 players. With Auba and Denis Zakaria it will be 21 players plus goalkeepers.”

Adding about Zakaria: "We need to work on the work permit. He will not be in the squad for Saturday. That is too close. We hope for Tuesday [against Dinamo Zagreb] and then for Fulham.”

Chelsea's new Boehly-Clearlake ownership group have been criticised in some quarters for overspending in the transfer window.

Denis Zakaria is awaiting a work permit after joining Chelsea on loan from Juventus (AFP via Getty Images)
Denis Zakaria is awaiting a work permit after joining Chelsea on loan from Juventus (AFP via Getty Images)

They've also added Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella, with over £40m spent on academy signings.

Tuchel admits that Chelsea have spent big but described it as necessary for the club's aims to remain at the top level of English and European football.

"We can discuss if we overspend or if it is too much money for the players, but the players we got are very, very good players, very good personalities," he continued.

"Everything was desperately needed to rebuild the group and inspire the group. I think we did excellent signings. It does not help if we talk about the price too much. It’s maybe hard to argue this is way too much money, okay.

"This is how the market was for us. Maybe we were not in the perfect position to always find the right timing and price. That’s nobody’s fault. The players we got fit perfectly. I am very happy to work with this group.”

Adding on £70m signing Fofana: "He is the kind of profile that we identify very early as a replacement for Toni [Rudiger] and Andreas [Christensen]. We are very happy that we stayed patient, super happy that Todd [Boehly] and Behdad [Eghbali] were relentless on it and never gave up and we managed to fulfill this transfer.

"Wesley is young, fast, very strong in set-pieces, defending and attacking. He was one of the very early targets to replace our guys that left the club.”