Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed the club never considered making an approach for Tottenham striker Harry Kane this summer, despite the speculation, and that Romelu Lukaku was always his first-choice target.
European champions Chelsea travel to face rivals Spurs in the Premier League on Sunday for a match that will pit two of football's finest forwards against each other.
Kane has remained at Spurs having spent much of the summer trying to engineer a move away from the club, with Manchester City widely expected to be his next destination. Chelsea, in the market for a striker, were also linked with a move for the England captain, but signed Lukaku for a club record €115 million ($134.6m) from Inter Milan as the Belgian returned for a second spell at Stamford Bridge.
“We never had a list with [Kane's] name on it and I never went to Marina [Granovskaia, Chelsea's executive director] to tell her to buy him,” Tuchel said.
“There are many people around players, their agents and advisers and people in between, so we had some information from these people but it was never that close.”
Tuchel explained that it was the strengths of Lukaku as a striker who leads the line and operates in the penalty area were what Chelsea most needed, following a league season that saw Jorginho top their scoring charts with seven penalties. The Belgian has slotted seamlessly into the Chelsea team with four goals so far, all of which have come inside the penalty area.
“The two are very different,” the German said. “Romelu plays a bit higher up the pitch and is a bit more physical, while Harry Kane is someone who loves to drop into number 10 positions and pockets of space, to turn and assist.
“They have very different styles of playing but there is one big similarity and that is they both score decisive goals. They love scoring, they score whenever they play and they are up for that, which is a certain mindset that you cannot learn.”
Kane will be seeking his first Premier League goal of the season on Sunday as Tottenham aim to bounce back from their first defeat of the campaign, last week's 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace. Unbeaten Chelsea are one point ahead after winning three of their first four matches.
Spurs are struggling with an early-season injury crisis, with up to six senior players either ruled out or doubtful for the match, but Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said they are ready for the challenge.
“Chelsea are a fantastic team, they’ve showed that with the results, with the investments they’ve made, they’ve done incredible,” Hojbjerg said. “But we are there, we are ready. We’re at home in our beautiful stadium with our fans, let’s say, putting on all the pressure they can, and we’ll do the same on the pitch. We’re ready for a massive fight.”