Sanctions made it impossible to keep Rüdiger – Tuchel

Chelsea manager confirms the player’s departure; ‘the club tried everything’

Thomas Tuchel has admitted that the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich made keeping Antonio Rüdiger at Chelsea virtually impossible.

The Germany international, whose contract expires in the summer, was offered a new deal worth £200,000 (€237,000) a week before the sanctions started. When the defender requested a large signing-on fee and a payment to his representatives, Chelsea’s hands were tied.

Speaking after his side’s 1-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday, Tuchel confirmed that the player would be departing and said: “We fought hard; I fought hard on a personal level. We made big offers to him, and the club tried everything. But for some weeks we cannot fight any more because we have the sanctions. We cannot adjust. We cannot continue, and so it is what it is.”

Tuchel then praised the player who joined from Roma for an initial £29 million in 2017: "He deserves my full support because he delivered incredible performances right until today. I'm just happy that I had the chance to coach him and to have him in the team. Because he was nothing but brilliant."


With Andreas Christensen also out of contract and set to join Barcelona, Tuchel was asked whether he hoped the sanctions would soon be lifted: "It would be ideal but even if we wish for it, you cannot pull grass so that it grows faster. We have to deal with the reality and at the moment the sanctions are still in place. The situation is not clear for next season, so we try to focus on what we can influence. This will be the next match."

West Ham have suffered a contract setback of their own, with Declan Rice rejecting an extension that would have made them the best-paid player in the club's history.

David Moyes drew a distinction between Rice's and Rüdiger's situations, with the former's deal running until 2024 and the club holding the option to extend for a further 12 months.

“The difference is he [Rüdiger] is out of contract,” Moyes said. “I think we’ve said what we think. We like Dec, he’s got three and a half years to go. I don’t think there’s any big panic.”

Rice kissed the West Ham badge after the recent Europa League quarter-final victory over Lyon, and Moyes was asked whether the latest move may confuse fans. "Maybe he just wants more money," the manager said. "People do turn down contacts. It's not unusual that players at clubs turn down contracts. Maybe it's a negotiation tactic."

– Guardian