It was a surprisingly busy January transfer window, with Premier League teams spending a nearly record amount, though most of that came from teams outside the top four and further down the table.
Chelsea’s own window was rather quiet, and we only barely managed to solve the one big issue we had coming in: left back cover. We did recall Kenedy when most were expecting us to recall Emerson, but beyond that, did little if anything of note. The rumor mill tried to make Ousmane Dembélé happen, but that was never a realistic notion.
Quiet transfer windows tend to lead to headlines and accusations of the club not backing the head coach, and variations on that theme, but at least as a public façade, Tuchel is “very satisfied” with how things are and were last month.
“Yes, I’m very satisfied, because it was a calm window, and to be calm is always, in doubt, the best thing. We were open for things, I did not have contact with Ousmane to answer your question very directly. So there was no contact between us.”
This was Tuchel’s second transfer window with Chelsea, but just like in the summer, he’s not one to advocate for panic buying.
“There was no frustration because I know what kind of quality we would need to add to a very, very strong group and a good group. We trust in the players we have and it’s also my job to find solutions when we have had injuries.
“We tried and had ideas, but in the end we stick to what we have and we are happy with it. Reece will come back at some point. Unfortunately, not Ben Chilwell, but Reece will come back and then he will compete for his place and compete for a place in the squad to fulfill his dreams and reach his full potential.
“Azpi is at the moment in fantastic form and in a fantastic place, that’s is why it’s fine. We try to find solutions within our squad.”
Of course we did recall Kenedy, which might not have been our ideal solution, but it is a solution nonetheless. And now, just a few days shy of his 26th birthday, he gets an unexpected second chance at Chelsea, four years after his last appearance.
“Absolutely, it is a clean slate [for Kenedy]. I think he knows it [and] I was very impressed with the beginning of his career. It was very promising. He lost strength a bit and maybe couldn’t fulfil his dreams. He couldn’t fulfil his demands of everybody or people from the outside like I have.
“This is life sometimes and he gets a second and third chance to be here and this is what it is about. It is not about the past, it is not about what happened and what not happen, he was good in pre-season. He decided he wanted to go back to Brazil and take the chance there.
“Now we had the situation with Ben and having Kenny and Emerson on loan and Kenny was possible and I am happy that he’s here. Now it is his duty to get fit and we have to bring him to match fitness and then he needs some minutes. However that will work out – he needs to deserve it, but he’s now part of the group.
“He is a very nice guy and very talented and let’s see where he is and if he can maybe make it. I think it is a huge opportunity for him and I am happy to give it to him and help him make the best out of it.”
Kenedy has played mostly as a left wing-back for us but as a winger for most of his other teams. That might be one of the reasons he hadn’t quite lived up to his initial promise, but his role back with the team will be once again mostly as a left wing-back.
“If you play with a wingback it is a perfect role for him. Given his profile and considering his profile as a player. He has a strong left foot and very strong in positional play. He can shoot and cross very precisely. And that’s more or less it. He is very talented.
“There was never a doubt about this and now it is having the right mentality and mindset to take this huge opportunity whenever the next step is needed.
“He will fight for his place and the others will hopefully take on the fight to not let him take their place away. Then it depends which formation we play, but a wingback role suits him very well.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
G’wan ... Kenny?
So if we have Chilly, Reecey, Azpi, and now Kenny, we just need David Tennant to go “Allons-y”!