Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has accepted some responsibility for Tammy Abraham’s lack of opportunities last season as the striker’s future at Stamford Bridge lies in the balance.
Sky Italy has reported that Roma have agreed a £34m deal to sign Abraham from Chelsea, leaving the 23-year-old to decide whether he wants to move to the Serie A side.
Abraham ended last season as Chelsea’s joint-top scorer with 12 goals but made just seven appearances after Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January, while the imminent arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan looks set to push him further down the pecking order.
Tuchel said Abraham, who has had a full pre-season after missing out on selection for England’s Euro 2020 squad, is currently available for Wednesday’s UEFA Super League final against Villarreal and refused to directly address Roma’s offer.
“I will not comment on the actual situations – how far this is and if it’s true and not true,” Tuchel said.
“Tammy is right now in the squad. He did some good preparation matches.
“He was clearly not happy with the last half a year and maybe he has reason also not to be happy and maybe it was also my fault not to push him, not to trust him on the same level I maybe trusted other players.
“I can absolutely understand that he wants more minutes. So the decision will be ‘how do we plan, what are Tammy’s plans, does he fight his way back into the team from the position where he ended last season or does he want to change club to have the chance of being a regular starter?'”
Arsenal – along with Serie A club Atalanta – are also interested in signing Abraham but Chelsea would prefer to sell him to a club outside the Premier League, making a move across London unlikely.
Tuchel faces a selection dilemma for Wednesday’s clash with Villarreal as he chooses between first-team regulars who have recently returned from their summer breaks after featuring at Euro 2020, or fringe players such as Abraham who have undergone a full pre-season.
“It’s quite a normal situation in preparation until the transfer window is closed,” Tuchel added.
“Tammy is one of these players where we constantly evaluate the situation and adapt to the needs, but for tomorrow there is no news now.
“He is available, he is in training today and available for the starting 11 and to come off the bench.”
‘Not the moment for Lukaku discussion’
Tuchel refused to provide an update on the club’s pursuit of Lukaku, who is flying to London to complete his £97.5m (€115m) move from Inter Milan.
The 28-year-old underwent the first part of his medical in Milan after the Italian champions agreed in principle a club-record deal to re-sign the striker.
The paperwork is now with club lawyers, and once that is formalised, Lukaku is expected to sign a five-year contract, worth £200,000 a week.
Tuchel said: “I’m absolutely not in a position to announce anything and I will maybe refuse to talk about it because we are in a press conference before a European final and it’s clearly not the moment for personal discussions of our squad.
“We need to wait and see what’s possible, what’s not possible.
“Today there is nothing to announce. It will always stay like this that I will not talk about it until the moment we have something to be announced.”
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger was also cautious over talking too much about Lukaku before the transfer is completed, but did offer a brief opinion on his prospective team-mate.
“You can see the body type, he’s a beast,” Rudiger said. “Someone who’s very strong. I think he showed it in Italy the past two years and did very well over there and also for his national team.
“A goal-scorer, and for me a top striker.
“He’s a top-class striker and obviously someone who loves to score goals.”
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