The void of the two-week international break has been filled with a fair bit of transfer rumor speculation — as usual — including a saga that is still only just getting started. Erling Braut Haaland’s eventual transfer from Borrusia Dortmund to ... wherever ... is already approaching Eden Hazard 2012 levels, and if Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola has anything to say about it, it’s going to eclipse that several-fold.
Raiola’s overt attempts to play the market and generate a bidding war for his star client has not been lost even on the most oblivious of observers, but that certainly didn’t stop journalists from asking Thomas Tuchel about it in his pre-match press conference ahead of today’s Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion.
As expected, Tuchel wasn’t about to get drawn in any of that noise.
“I will not answer that, out of respect for the player and for Borussia Dortmund. He’s a Borussia Dortmund player, and of course, there’s big news around him and his agent. And it seems like they are creating a race for the player.
“But still everybody needs to accept, and I will fully accept, that he is a Borussia Dortmund player. A very promising player of course, but with respect to the situation he’s not in our squad, he’s not in our club so there’s no comment on anything else regarding him.”
And the same goes for any Sergio Aguero talk, even if the veteran striker doesn’t have the same restrictions as Haaland given that he’s confirmed to become a free agent and leave Manchester City this summer.
“It is the same answer as for Haaland. We have full respect for Manchester City and for Sergio Aguero, who is a big player for them. There are no words needed from me about the achievements of this guy, he is a world-class player. But don’t forget, we compete in three competitions for Manchester City so I will never speak about their players and talk about a player’s future. It’s their player and I expect they do the same with our players.
“We are rivals and, as I said, there are no words need from me to praise Sergio Aguero’s career. It is outstanding and speaks for itself. And it’s not finished yet. He is still a player for City and will still help them to achieve their goals, which is a big collision to our goals because we are following the same things.”
One thing that Tuchel was more than happy to talk about however is his current squad, especially as the upcoming transfer market is perhaps even more uncertain and unknowable than last summer’s, when Chelsea went ham and just about everybody else squirreled away their pennies.
“Honestly we have to wait. It’s another strange situation with the pandemic worldwide. It is necessary that we as a club need to adapt and be patient. Is there even a market? How does it look? What can we invest in? Are there even chances to generate money? Is there interest in our players? Do other clubs have the capacity to buy players from us? Are we able to buy and do we want to?
“So the situation is not clear and so for me, it’s best to be patient and I agree with the club in this to not lose our head. We have to fully trust the guys we have. We have eight decisive weeks coming full of decisive matches in which we can achieve three big goals for us. My trust and full concentration are on the players that are here.
“Everything else we will have time for. Now is the moment for the players to show we can trust them. Am I a happy coach right now? Yes, I am because I have a full squad, am at a top club and have a top team. So I am very relaxed.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
The responses may be expected, but Tuchel’s proven to be nothing if not a straight-shooter in all his press conferences, and he comes across as very much a realist, especially by football manager standards.