Ahead of the Premier League’s final weekend, Thomas Tuchel spoke to the media on Friday with Chelsea hosting relegated Watford at Stamford Bridge.
The German spoke regarding the season, the incoming new owner Todd Boehly, and summer transfers.
In a season where Chelsea have fallen short at the final hurdle to Liverpool at Wembley in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup final, as well as getting knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter final to Real Madrid, it has been a season of disappointment but promise for the Blues.
Looking back, Tuchel said: “It was very challenging, but at the same time it was demanding but also a lot of fun. It is a pure pleasure to be in the middle of it and still have the chance to guide the team and be part of it. It’s fine, we always try to adapt and find solutions.”
Since Tuchel has come in, he has guided the club to the final of every single competition at least once, however, Chelsea have lost back-to-back FA Cup finals.
Out with the old, in with the new
With long-standing owner Roman Abramovic sanctioned by the UK government back in March due to a rumoured strong relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin, American businessman Todd Boehly is yet to officially be announced as Chelsea owner.
On the incoming Boehly, Tuchel said: “We will be very open and very honest, and he will get my point of view if he wants to have it. Of course, we have lost key players and we have struggled lately to win our home games. He was at the final at Wembley. Maybe when the deal is done and he is our owner, he is the lucky charm that we need so we [will] give him the credit.”
Boehly was pictured at Stamford Bridge at Chelsea’s last two home games against Wolves and Leicester in midweek, as well as Wembley however, the 46-year-old is yet to see a win for his new club.
With Chelsea set to lose several players including Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen for free, Tuchel believes investment is needed for the squad.
“We lack huge quality. I spoke about N’Golo [Kante], Ben Chilwell and Reece James. If you have seen in the last weeks, it is a miracle that we [have been] in the top three for the whole season without these key players because we missed them for weeks.
“The top teams, like Liverpool, bought a fantastic player in winter to make the existing squad stronger. Man City signed Haaland already to make the existing squad stronger. We are losing players so at the moment my focus is to build a strong team and to see what is possible, then we can think about closing the gap.”
Last summer, the only significant incoming for the Blues was Romelu Lukaku, with Saul Ñiguez joining late on deadline day on a season-long loan deal.
Ahead of the midweek fixture to Leicester City, the Stamford Bridge crowd unveiled two new banners, with one for boyhood midfielder Mason Mount, with the Shed End showing their support for Tuchel.
The banner came as a bit of a shock to the 48-year-old. When asked on the banner, Tuchel was very thankful to those behind the idea.
Tuchel said: “I was very happy. I [have] never had a banner. I was looking at the banner for Mason Mount until somebody told me there is another banner on the other side. [It was] very nice and thank you very much. I will do my very best to earn it.”
With Edouard Mendy the current number one at the club, Kepa Arrizabalaga has been linked with a move away in recent months.
On whether Kepa will remain at Stamford Bridge next season, Tuchel said: “[It] depends what he wants and depends what his plans are. We are very privileged to have Edu and Kepa in our squad.
“For sure, Kepa is not happy about the situation because he deserves to play more. He can be a very strong number one. He arrived as a number one and the situation is not easy. I can tell you that he is a fantastic team player since day one. He has never let anybody down. We have never had this conversation, but I know the goalkeepers coach have these conversations.
“We will take our time to speak with him and reflects what’s best and what the possibilities are. I am super happy to have both strong goalkeepers.”
Chelsea paid a staggering £72 million in 2018 for Kepa, however, the Spaniard failed to settle at the west London club before Edouard Mendy was signed in 2020 for just £22 million.