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Tuchel hints that Chelsea may no longer sign unvaccinated players

Thomas Tuchel has suggested that Chelsea could avoid signing players who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have missed the Blues’ tour of the United States due to being unvaccinated, with their pre-season preparations taking place back in London with the youth teams instead.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Chelsea’s friendly against Mexican side Club America, Tuchel was asked if he would consider vaccine status regarding future transfer targets.

“Yes, it has to [be a factor],” Tuchel said. “I knew some players who I would also take without vaccination. So I have to say, but yes, it is a part of daily life.

“We cannot force [players to get vaccinated]. It is, at the moment, a very normal decision to get vaccinated. Both players took the decision not to. We need to follow the rules. They cannot join us. They know about the consequences.

“We don’t like it. Of course not. We would love to have them here, and it is not an ideal solution, far from ideal. But, once the situation is like this, you must devise a solution.

“They train with the Under-23s. Then they go with the Under-19s, but it will not compensate. It will not be the same [as being with the first team].”

Chelsea went on to secure a 2-1 win against Club America on Saturday thanks to second-half goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount on either side of a Reece James own goal.

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Tuchel hints that Chelsea may no longer sign unvaccinated players

After the victory, Tuchel was asked by reporters about the arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly, who joined Chelsea on Saturday from Napoli for a reported fee of £33.8million (€40m).

Tuchel said about his new centre-back:

“He brings experience, quality, top defending, quality, height, everything we’re looking for to play a back three of back four.

“It’s a brilliant signing for us, and we hope he can show his quality as soon as possible. He is now training outside after he arrived yesterday, and we’re 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 from this side, it will be quick that he feels welcome in the group. It’s a nice group, and everyone is happy he is with us now.”

The 31-year-old will likely line up alongside Thiago Silva, who joined the club two seasons ago as a 35-year-old. However, Tuchel is backing Koulibaly to have a similar impact to the Brazil international despite arriving in the latter stages of his career.

“That’s what we believe [that his peak years are still to come], and that’s what he is here for,” the Blues head coach added.

“There were always rumours about him leaving Napoli, and it was always super tricky – and in the end impossible – to get him because he was a key player.

“It’s nice he takes the challenge right now, and we have Thiago Silva, who is even older and super experienced and still at the peak of his game.

“We hope Kalidou can do the same and play for many years for us. He is fit and ready for the challenge and needs to be because we need him in top shape.”

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Tuchel hints that Chelsea may no longer sign unvaccinated players

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