Thomas Tuchel has admitted he cannot begin to think about life after Roman Abramovich at Chelsea.
Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich confirmed his “incredibly difficult decision” to sell Chelsea on Wednesday night, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
The 55-year-old has owned the Blues since 2003 and helped steer the Stamford Bridge club to 19 major trophies.
But his glittering reign in west London is close to an end, with a consortium of billionaires already making their interest in a deal public.
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and American investor Todd Boehly are understood to be two of the parties joining forces and preparing a bid for the Blues.
Abramovich could come under UK government sanctions given his proximity to the Russian state, though he is also understood to have been attempting to broker a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.
Chelsea’s players and coaches learned of Abramovich’s decision to sell the club late on in the preparations for the Blues’ 3-2 FA Cup fifth-round win at Luton.
And a still shocked Tuchel admitted he will need time to get to grips with the sizeable change on the cards at Stamford Bridge.
Asked to sum up Abramovich’s impact at Chelsea, the Blues boss replied: “It’s a bit too early because it’s big news.
“It’s a bit too early to speak, because I can only think about Chelsea with Roman Abramovich. So it’s very hard for me. It hasn’t sunk in yet that this is going to stop. It’s a massive change of course.
“We did not talk about it (before the Luton match). We did not talk about it, we accepted it.
“The players have internet connections, they watch TV so of course they knew, they get messages. But still we focused in the preparation only on sports.
“And maybe some players are more affected, some less, but in the end we managed to focus, grow into this game and find the key top win it.
“I don’t think I need to talk about it, I don’t know as much as maybe you think. I’m not a CEO or member of the board. So, I’m very sure the club will speak to us and the players.
“I’m not so much worried because I still feel privileged and in a good place. And I still hope and trust for the best. I’m not so much the person who worries about things I cannot influence.
“It’s big news, it will be a big change, but I’m also never afraid of change, and will focus on what I can influence, and this is staff and team at Cobham.”
Abramovich confirmed his intention to sell Chelsea in a lengthy statement released on Wednesday night.
He said: “As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart.
“In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners.
“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.
“I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person.
“It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.”
The 86-year-old Swiss businessman Wyss has already revealed his intention to bid for Chelsea, in a move that appears designed to fast-track a sale and potentially reduce the eventual price.
American Boehly has been revealed as the first of a possible string of partners, as Wyss attempts to push on with a deal.
Abramovich has vowed not to rush the sale of a club he has led to two Champions League titles, as well as the Club World Cup title earlier this year.
Abramovich pledged to wipe out his £1.5billion loan as well as divert proceeds to aid those suffering from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process,” continued Abramovich’s statement.
“I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club.
“Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated.
“The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”