Thomas Tuchel has said that Chelsea have no plans to sell Christian Pulisic following suggestions that Barcelona and Real Madrid could target the winger this summer.
Pulisic is yet to start a league game since Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge last month and has struggled to find consistency since joining Chelsea 18 months ago. His talent is obvious but injuries have held him back in the past 12 months. Fitness issues have frustrated Pulisic this season and he could miss Saturday’s trip to Southampton because of a calf problem.
But while reports in Spain have claimed that Barça and Madrid could look to offer Pulisic a fresh start, he remains part of Tuchel’s plans. The German knows the 22-year-old’s quality after coaching him at Borussia Dortmund, who sold him to Chelsea for £58m, and gave an emphatic response after being asked if he wants him to stay.
“That is my point of view, clearly yes,” Chelsea’s manager said. “Chelsea bought Christian for a reason, his quality and potential, and it is our job to get the best out of him. He has proved in many weeks he has the level to be a regular Chelsea player. It is the challenge now to improve and hold his level.
Tuchel said that Chelsea do not need to manage Pulisic’s fitness. “We are not concerned but the medical department is on that” the German added. “We have little issues with the calf, he stopped training yesterday before it became an injury so I would not say it is an injury, it is risk management. And it relies on the history of injuries. We did not want to enter the same cycle.
“The main thing for Christian is to stay positive, keep his head up and be ready as he can have a big impact when he starts or off the bench with his intensity. There are absolutely no decisions made for summer. There is simply not time for that.”
Tuchel said that Tammy Abraham, who suffered an ankle injury during Chelsea’s win over Newcastle on Monday, is in contention to face Southampton. Thiago Silva is still out with a thigh injury.
Confirmation from José Mourinho on what Spurs have feared for some time – Giovani Lo Celso will not be back before early March, at best. The midfielder injured his hamstring in the 2-0 home defeat against Leicester on 20 December and has not played since. “When will Gio be back? I don’t know … not close,” Mourinho said. “Gio is still a few weeks to go and of course we need him because he gives us lots of quality and options.”
Mourinho hopes to have Sergio Reguilón back for next Wednesday’s Europa League tie at home to Wolfsberger. Serge Aurier is also out of Sunday’s derby at West Ham.
National League North and South season come to an end