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Thomas Tuchel talks down reports Chelsea tried to sign Harry Kane

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2021-09-17
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Thomas Tuchel and Romelu Lukaku during Chelsea training this week Photograph: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC/Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel has said that he was not scared about the possibility of Harry Kane joining Manchester City and has played down suggestions that Chelsea were in the running to sign the Tottenham forward.

Chelsea, who strengthened their attack by signing Romelu Lukaku from Internazionale for £97.5m, were always an unlikely destination for Kane because of their intense rivalry with Spurs. City were pushing hardest to sign the England captain in the summer and Tuchel said he would have been interested to see how the 28-year-old would have fared under Pep Guardiola.

Related: Romelu Lukaku is flying at Chelsea while Harry Kane is stuck in stasis | Barney Ronay

“I thought that this is going to happen,” Chelsea’s manager said. “I was not scared, but if it would have happened I would have been very interested in how maybe it would have changed Manchester City’s style of playing.

“We are not afraid of anyone. We accept any team and Manchester City, Man United and Liverpool, they are the teams strong like no other in this league and they have strong squads. These are the guys with whom we want to compete and it’s normal that they fight for the best players.”

Tuchel said that he was glad Kane stayed at Spurs, who host Chelsea on Sunday. “It is also nice that it exists in football that players play for one club only,” he said. “When I think about Tottenham in the last decade you think about Harry Kane and this is very nice.”

Tuchel, who in May had raised the possibility of signing Kane, said he never asked the Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia to move for the striker. “We never had a list with his name on it and I never went to Marina to tell her to buy him,” he said. “But the club sorted out the situation. There are many people around players, their agents and advisers and people in between, and we had some information from these people. But it was never that close that we had to experience the rivalry. We know about the rivalry.”

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Tuchel said he hoped Antonio Rüdiger would not leave Chelsea on a free transfer next summer. The German defender is in the final year of his contract and he has stalled over accepting Chelsea’s offer of an extension. Rüdiger, who has been targeted by Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, can negotiate a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January.

“I hope that they find solutions, but it’s not only between coaches and players, and what we wish for,” Tuchel said. “It’s between the club, the players and the agent at the moment.”

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