THOMAS TUCHEL refused to rule out a swoop for Erling Haaland as transfer talks continue for the Borussia Dortmund striker.
Chelsea are desperate to land a new No9 this summer to bolster their attack – with the Norwegian, 20, their primary target.
Haaland’s dad Alf-Inge and agent Mino Raiola – who could bag up to £25million from any deal – have held discussions with Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain before heading to England to meet with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.
But Tuchel did not give anything away when quizzed on any potential meeting between Haaland’s representatives and the Blues.
The German said: “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.”
Tuchel needs more goals in his team, especially with Timo Werner misfiring since his £48million arrival from RB Leipzig last summer.
Haaland guarantees that with 33 goals in 32 appearances for Dortmund this season.
But Tuchel remained positive in his assessment of Werner – despite his horror miss for Germany last week and return of two goals in his last 32 appearances for club and country.
The Chelsea boss added: “It is an easy solution at the moment to point the finger at Timo which I cannot understand. I am happy that he is here at the moment because he is protected here.
“We demand a lot from him and get a lot from him. The best thing is to look at the situation honestly, not focus on the bad things, but look at it honestly.
“The ball simply does not work out like it usually works out, but he works hard for us. If this is the most critical point of his career so far, look at the data, look at the statistics.
“He scores still for us, he is doing assists for us, he is winning decisive penalties for us.
“So if this is the most critical point in your career you can still accept it and say, ‘OK it’s pretty impressive so far.’
“He can trust that his brain and his body remembers to do that because it is absolutely usual for him to score. So it will come back, it is just a matter of time.”
Another player linked with a stunning transfer is Sergio Aguero, who will be released by Manchester City when his contract expires this summer.
Plenty of clubs will be in the race to land the 32-year-old on a free transfer.
And Tuchel heaped praise on Argentine hero Aguero – but again would not reveal any transfer interest in the Etihad record goalscorer.
He added: “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 against 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. His career 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.”