Thomas Tuchel forced into transfer market by Reece James injury at Chelsea

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<span>Photograph: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock

Thomas Tuchel has revealed that Chelsea could try to sign a right wing-back after losing Reece James to a torn hamstring.

The European champions are already seeking cover at left wing-back after Ben Chilwell was ruled out for the rest of the season. James is expected to be out for at least two months, leaving César Azpilicueta as Chelsea’s only right-sided defender, and Tuchel is worried about his lack of options.

“If we play in a back five it is Azpi who replaces Reece James,” Chelsea’s manager said. “If we play a back four we may need a bit more of a defensive full-back – it is also Azpi. Maybe it is Trevoh Chalobah, but Trevoh is out with an injury. We are running out of options. If you talk about Christian Pulisic or Callum Hudson-Odoi, they can only play wing-back. It’s not their preferred position and they cannot play full-back. You lose options not only in personnel but in tactics.

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“I will not comment on detail in the market. We check our options and it needs to make sense. If we had a full squad I would love to answer this question and say we need nothing. But we have the issue and that’s why we look into it.”

Chelsea, who host non-league Chesterfield in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday, want to cover for Chilwell by ending Emerson Palmieri’s loan at Lyon. They are also monitoring Everton’s Lucas Digne and Barcelona’s Sergiño Dest.

A daunting fixture list could inform the club’s recruitment. Chelsea play the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham on Wednesday, go to Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup next month and face Lille in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Chelsea, who were interested in Kieran Trippier before the right-back’s move to Newcastle, need more depth. Tuchel, who could recall the 22-year-old right-back Dujon Sterling from his loan at Blackpool, will not hesitate just because James should return soon.

“If you don’t know how fast the process is for coming back you can lose a lot of matches,” the German said. “You can lose Club World Cup matches, you can lose Champions League matches, you can lose crucial Carabao Cup matches and league matches. If you are out for four or five weeks you can lose 10 or 12 matches. It can be too much.”

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