Tuchel concerned Chelsea ownership uncertainty offers rivals transfer advantage

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The uncertainty surrounding the ownership of Chelsea is hampering the Blues' planning in the transfer market, says head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea were allowed to continue operating despite restrictions on owner Roman Abramovich, who put the club up for sale after being sanctioned by the UK government following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

However, the Blues are banned from signing new players or agreeing contract extensions with existing members of their squad as per the restrictions imposed.

Antonio Rudiger has already confirmed his intention to leave, with Real Madrid the favourites to sign the centre-back when his contract expires.

Meanwhile, fellow defender Andreas Christensen is reportedly to join Barcelona after the conclusion of his deal in June 2023, placing strain on Tuchel's squad before the upcoming season has even started.

It is not just the outgoings that are frustrating Chelsea, the Blues are falling behind in incomings with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City moving for forwards Gabriel Jesus and Erling Haaland respectively.

Tuchel expressed his commitment but acknowledged Chelsea are already playing catch-up as they wait for the final bidder to be confirmed, and then cleared by the Premier League and government.

"[In a normal season], you are never fully sure but we would have some targets and we would have for sure contacted some players and found out about their situations," he said on Wednesday.

"Of course, now our hands are tied. We can still have talks inside the building but we cannot act. The situation is not ideal.

"It would be challenging enough with a stable situation but we don't have it. Everybody is doing it for the first time, we try to show our commitment and our passion for it.

"This is for me very important to give this message: I am committed, I am looking forward and I am passionate about it. As soon as we can act, we will try to act and turn things around.

"You could see we could not compete over the long run, we could compete in periods, we can compete in direct matches.

"I was so happy with the structure and mentality that Chelsea provides because for me that was the foundation to strongly believe we are capable and we will keep on pushing.

"With this now questioned, it is getting more demanding, not difficult because I don't know what's coming – but the thing for me is that we keep the mentality here in the building, the competitive mentality which was installed over a decade.

"This is a bit concerning and hopefully we can find our way through it."

Chelsea visit Manchester United on Thursday with third place in the Premier League all but secure, though they sit 15 points behind leaders Manchester City, who have played a game more.

Tuchel appreciates a sizeable rebuilding task will be required to compete with City and Liverpool next season, a challenge made more difficult due to the ongoing uncertainty.

Asked what was required to go head-to-head with City and Liverpool in the following campaign, Tuchel responded: "Cosmetic surgery! I would be less concerned if we had the same ownership and could rely on our structure.

"This is also a question. We are aware of the danger that the situation is maybe a bit more complex.

"And it can be complex enough if we lose a player like Toni and maybe lose another player like Andreas, their kind of quality and both of them free, that is demanding enough nowadays, to lose this kind of quality in a back three, lose two key players for free.

"It can be demanding enough even if everything else stays in place. So with this in question it can be a very demanding summer.

"I don't know if surgery is the right term for it but still I just want to be positive about it and speak to the things we can influence."

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