Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has said Romelu Lukaku‘s agent publicly discussing the striker’s future is “not the situation you want” on the eve of an FA Cup final against Liverpool on Saturday (11.45 a.m. ET, stream live on ESPN+, U.S. only).
Lukaku has endured a disappointing season at Stamford Bridge having rejoined the club from Inter Milan for a club record €115 million last summer, scoring 15 goals in 42 appearances.
– Olley: FA Cup final talking points: Who needs win more?
– O’Hanlon: 6 key questions for Saturday’s FA Cup final (E+)
– Dove: African stars key to FA Cup success for Liverpool, Chelsea
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access
The 28-year-old has previously suggested he would be open to a return to Italy and his agent Federico Pastorello fuelled further speculation on Friday in an interview with La Repubblica in which he confirmed plans to hold talks with the club’s prospective new owners — a consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly — at the end of the season.
“We cannot think about negotiations,” Pastorello said. “Chelsea are in takeover discussions, we do not know the new owners, let alone if we can open talks with Inter or AC Milan. We have to wait.”
When those comments were put to Tuchel in a news conference on Friday, he replied: “I just was aware about it five or 10 minutes ago actually.
“That’s what it is sometimes in football. The tension is so high that sometimes it attracts situations that you don’t want to have before big matches but that’s the way it is. For me it is not a distraction and hopefully for everybody who works with the team and the team itself also.
“If he plans to talk to the owner, maybe it is his plan not to talk with me. Fair enough, let’s see if he gets a meeting and can get to talk. It is his right. We will talk to anybody and evaluate any situation of any player including Romelu’s and then we will see what’s going to happen and what the plans are.”
Tuchel also revealed Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante will attempt to train later on Friday in a bid to overcome injuries to face Liverpool at Wembley. Kovacic is battling an ankle problem sustained against Leeds United while Kante has been dogged by a series of problems.
Earlier this month, Tuchel laughed off the tweet and Pulisic said he is looking forward to making an impact in the FA Cup final.
“Yeah. Of course, I want to be on the pitch. I enjoy this club a lot. I’m hoping that I can get more opportunities,” he told the Guardian when asked about his happiness at Stamford Bridge.
The 23-year-old also said Chelsea’s season should not be viewed as a failure as they look to avoid a trophyless campaign.
“Overall, we accomplished a lot,” he added. “We put up a big fight in the Champions League. The Carabao Cup final, we put up an impressive performance [a defeat on penalties to Liverpool].
“And now we have a chance in the FA Cup final. Win this, and I think we can say it’s been a pretty successful season.”