Thomas Tuchel has reinforced the message that striker Romelu Lukaku has a “big part” to play in Chelsea’s future plans, but accepts that Antonio Rudiger may wish to explore alternative options this summer.
Barcelona representatives have met with Rudiger’s agents this week, despite Chelsea boss Tuchel refusing to give up hope of convincing the Germany international to remain at Stamford Bridge.
The west London club cannot sign or sell any players under the terms of their current UK Government licence, in light of sanctions on Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
The Blues cannot pursue new contracts for existing players either, though Cesar Azpilicueta’s extension was triggered via a pre-existing clause.
Tuchel still believes Chelsea have a hope of keeping hold of prized defender Rudiger, once the ongoing takeover battle is complete, but says that he would not blame the defender for talking to other clubs.
“I would try to meet him if I were any other club,” said Tuchel.
“Still, he’s our player and I still think we have a good chance he stays our player once things are solved for us. Our hands are tied, we cannot offer him or negotiate or renegotiate with his agents. But I’m still confident.”
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