Thomas Tuchel has said he hopes dropping Andreas Christensen will convince the centre-back to extend his contract at Chelsea.
Christensen’s contract runs out at the end of the season and his Chelsea future is in doubt after negotiations over an extension hit a stumbling block. The European champions thought that an agreement on a four-year deal with a one-year option was close to being agreed, only for discussions regarding the length and terms of the contract to reach an impasse.
Chelsea recently returned with the offer of a three-year deal, which they believed that Christensen would sign, but frustration is growing after talks stalled again. The Denmark international has not featured for Chelsea since 6 November and Tuchel, who knows the 25-year-old will be free to talk to foreign clubs about a pre-contract agreement from 1 January, has dismissed suggestions that putting him on the bench could hurt negotiations.
“No, the opposite,” Chelsea’s manager said. “We have the hope that it influences the contract situation a little bit. My understanding was that it’s a matter of a very short period before we have good news. As I understood it the club wants the same, the player wants the same, the coach wants the same: to stay. That’s why we need the commitment and then we can continue.”
Tuchel, who could bring Christensen in when the Premier League’s pacesetters visit Watford n Wednesday evening, said he was not anticipating an imminent breakthrough.
“I have no good news,” he said. “That was my understanding weeks ago – that Andreas wants the same as me, that he wants the same as the club, and that’s why for me it was a zero problem situation because everybody wanted the same as far as I understood it. But we are waiting a long time now for confirmation.
“It is on Andreas to act. How he acts on the pitch, he needs to act off it and walk the talk because he tells us that he loves Chelsea. He tells us that he wants to stay because he is a big part of a big club. I think he is a perfect fit and I think that he is not done here. His career here is, by far, not finished. But, like I said, it’s on him. We want the commitment and hopefully we get it.”
Chelsea, who also need to sort out new deals for César Azpilicueta, Antonio Rüdiger and Thiago Silva, have fitness worries in midfield – N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovacic are out and Jorginho is a doubt.
Saúl Ñíguez, who has not started in the Premier League since a difficult debut against Aston Villa on 11 September, could partner Ruben Loftus-Cheek if Jorginho misses out. The Spain midfielder has struggled since joining on loan from Atlético Madrid, but Tuchel denied Spanish reports claiming that Chelsea signed the 27-year-old as a favour to the player’s agent.
“A club signing?” the German said. “We don’t do this. Until now we didn’t do club signings and coach’s signings. We do signings because we decide together because we believe it’s a good pick and a good addition to the squad, and this was exactly the case.”