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Thomas Tuchel Urges Andreas Christensen To Become A ‘Huge’ Player At Chelsea.

“We are not happy about the situation with Andreas, we think it’s best for him to stay. This is a crucial point of his Chelsea career, a decisive moment for him to step up and be a huge player for the next years,” says Thomas Tuchel; Reece James misses Chelsea training with “setback”

Thomas Tuchel hopes Andreas Christensen seizes the opportunity to become a “huge player” at Chelsea and ignores increasing speculation linking him with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

Christensen’s contract expires this summer and he has so far rejected the Blues’ offer of an extension, with the 25-year-old heavily linked with Barcelona, who are reportedly keen to sign the Denmark international if he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Tuchel was adamant the club would weather Christensen’s departure but hopes it doesn’t come to that, issuing another plea for the centre-back to commit his long-term future to the European champions and take full advantage of the platform on offer at Chelsea.

“It’s in doubt [whether he stays], we hear the rumours,” the Chelsea boss said. “The situation with Andreas has been clear for many weeks, we are not happy about it because we – club representatives and I – think it’s best for him to stay, we rely heavily on him.

“He has not signed yet, so you cannot not communicate. This is a signal to us, and communication from his side is that he has not signed up until now.

“We have to consider the possibility he will leave us. Will we like it? No. Will we live with it? Yes. Things are not personal, they never should be, this can happen, but I have no further information that I don’t want to share.”

Asked whether reports linking Christensen with a free transfer to Barcelona in the summer would impact his first-team opportunities for the remainder of the season, Tuchel added: “I don’t think so. If things happen, I try not to take things personally.

“He is still our player; we will do what is best for us until his contract ends. He is a Chelsea player, that’s the point. He knows we appreciate him a lot.

“I think this is a crucial point of his Chelsea career. It’s a crucial point where he is at the perfect age, in the perfect moment, the system in which we play, the guys who play at his side – considering all these circumstances, this is the decisive moment for him to step up and be a huge Chelsea player for the next years.

“If he decides otherwise, I will not take it personally – it doesn’t matter if I understand him or not – but I will treat him as my player until the very last day.”

Tuchel’s defensive headache off the pitch was mirrored on it after he confirmed that wing-back Reece James missed training ahead of Thursday’s Premier League trip to Norwich City with a muscular strain.

James had only just returned from a hamstring injury which kept him out of Chelsea’s first 12 matches of 2022.

The 22-year-old, who scored and assisted on his first start since December in Saturday’s 4-0 victory at Burnley, has not suffered a recurrence of the same hamstring injury but Tuchel has revealed the initial prognosis does not look good.

“Everybody was on the training pitch today except Ben Chilwell, of course, and Reece James, who has a bit of muscular problems after three matches,” Tuchel added. “Not his injured leg, the other leg.

“We thought he could maybe be on the pitch today, but he couldn’t, so we need further examination to see what is going on. Reece felt it during the match [at Burnley], that’s why we took him out – it didn’t get better.

“We are worried but still we need more detail and information. There will be further examinations today. It’s obvious what he gives to our team and can give to our team. It’s not good news at the moment. It’s a setback for sure, I hope it’s not a big one.”

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