Thomas Tuchel has suggested that Chelsea could avoid signing players who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the future.
Both N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek missed the Blues’ tour of the United States as they were unvaccinated, with their pre-season preparations taking place in London with the youth teams instead.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Chelsea’s friendly against Mexican club Club America, Tuchel was asked if he would take the status of the vaccine into consideration with regard to future transfer targets.
“Yes it is necessary [be a factor]”, said Tuchel. “I knew players that I would also take without vaccination. I have to say, but yeah, it’s part of everyday life right now.
“We can’t force [players to get vaccinated]. It is currently a completely normal decision to get vaccinated. Both players made the decision not to. We have to follow the rules. They can’t join us. They know the consequences.
“We don’t like it. Of course not. We would like to have them here and it’s not an ideal solution. Far from ideal. But, once the situation is like that, you have to find a solution .
“They train with the Under-23s. Then they go with the Under-19s… but that won’t make up for it. It won’t be the same [as being with the first team].”
Chelsea then cruised to a 2-1 win over Club America on Saturday thanks to second-half goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount either side of an own goal from Reece James.
After the win, Tuchel was asked by reporters about the arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly, who joined Chelsea on Saturday from Napoli for a fee of £33.8m (€40m).
“He brings experience, quality, top defense, quality, height, everything we are looking for to play a full back three out of four,” Tuchel said of his new defender. central.
“He’s a brilliant signing, another brilliant signing for us, and we hope he can show his quality as soon as possible. He is now training outside after arriving yesterday, and we are very happy.
“He knows some of the players – he plays with [Edouard Mendy] with the national team and knows [Jorginho] from Napoli – so I think on this side it will be quick for him to feel welcome in the group. They are a good group, and everyone is happy that they are with us now.”
The 31-year-old will likely line up alongside Thiago Silva, who joined the club two seasons ago aged 35, and Tuchel backs Koulibaly to have a similar impact on the Brazil international despite his arrival in the later stages of his career.
“That’s what we believe [that his peak years are still to come]and that’s what he’s here for,” added the Blues head coach.
“There were always rumors that he was leaving Napoli, and it was always very difficult – and ultimately impossible – to bring him in because he was a key player.
“It’s good that he is up to the challenge at the moment, and we have Thiago Silva, who is even older and super experienced and still at the top of his game.
“We hope Kalidou can do the same and play for us for many years. He is fully fit and ready for the challenge, and he has to be because we need him in top shape.”