Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel unwilling to give into Cesar Azpilicueta’s demands and accept cut-price Barcelona sale

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel is willing to keep Cesar Azpilicueta at Chelsea despite his desire to leave for Barcelona being public knowledge.

The 32-year-old has asked to leave in a cut-price deal and has referenced Romelu Lukaku’s exit which saw him leave at a staggering loss to the Stamford Bridge outfit.

With Barcelona upping their attempts to poach Azpilicueta after losing out on signing Sevilla’s Jules Kounde to Chelsea, Tuchel is not necessarily willing to give the LaLiga giants what they want.

“It's a tough question because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants,” Tuchel said when asked by Standard Sport in Flordia.

“At some point it is about what we want. I just made the comparison about how much we fought for [Kalidou] Koulibaly, who is a national team player and roughly the same age.

“He is a hugely important player for Napoli but we have a Spanish international who is the captain at Chelsea. I see him maybe at the same level but Barcelona don’t see him on that level. So I am not sure if I want to give him what he wants as he is a huge player.

“We don't think so much about other clubs. The focus is on us and what we need. I said that to him and I say it to you that I understand on a personal and a career level. But I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what's best for Chelsea.

“He doesn't like it but he understands. It is tough for him because the other club is permanently on him. On September 1 when things calm down, then he can play on his highest level.”

Then asked if he was annoyed at Barcelona constantly trying to sign his player, Tuchel added: “Maybe a little bit.”

It is widely expected that Kounde will soon join Chelsea after agreeing on a five-year deal until 2027 and with a £55million offer on the table.

However, it leaves Chelsea without a left-footed centre back amid their struggles to sign Manchester City’s Nathan Ake or Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe.

With one more central defender being targeted, Tuchel admits he prefers a left-sided player but adds that it might not be possible to get one.

“We are looking of course for people who can play on the left side," he added. “To be honest, Antonio [Rudiger] played on the left side and he is not left footed. Maybe Kalidou can play there because he plays in a back four on the left side.

“Let's see what's possible. It is not only about bringing in players for numbers. We need numbers but we need also quality so we will make some decisions late. Not only on quality but system.”

Tuchel refused to give a comment on the record about whether Kounde is close to signing for Chelsea.