Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admitted on Wednesday that he is unsure whether defender Andreas Christensen will play again for the club.
The Dane pulled out of the squad for the FA Cup final defeat against Liverpool at the weekend and has been heavily linked with a move to Spanish giants Barcelona.
Chelsea have already lost the services of German defender Antonio Rudiger – who will join Barca's arch-rivals Real Madrid this summer – and it looks like Christensen will also be heading for the exit.
And, speaking ahead of Chelsea's Premier League game at home to Leicester City on Thursday, Tuchel revealed that he did not know whether the 26-year-old will be available to take on the Foxes – or for Sunday's final game of the season at Watford.
“I’m not sure yet if he’s involved tomorrow and at the weekend,” said Tuchel of Christensen, whose contract runs out this summer and can leave on a free transfer. “Andreas came in the morning of the [FA Cup final] to speak to me and tell me that he’s not ready to play the match, not to start or be on the bench.
“He had his reasons, they stay private and confidential. But it was not the first time as you can see over the last weeks that we had some of the same situations.
“That’s why he did not play so regularly in the last times. We thought we were in a good progression and development, but the conversation took place, we had to respect it and we of course respected it.
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“It was very short notice now before the cup final, and not only this match, other matches in the other weeks. There’s no chance I have any prediction for tomorrow or the weekend.”
Repeating what he said after Rudiger's decision not to sign a new contract, Tuchel insisted he will not take Christensen’s situation “personally”.
“We had to accept it and we will accept it,” said the German, whose team are third in the table and have already secured a top-four finish this season. “I try the best I cannot to take things personally, and I still believe Andreas wanted to play these matches, I still believe he could in terms of potential and ability.
“And he struggled over the last weeks, as you can see, when he was not in the squad or not playing although he was physically available.
“It was not completely out of the blue sky. We thought we had prepared him the best way possible with a very impressive game at Leeds. He is a key player.”
Timo Werner, Mateo Kovacic and Callum Hudson-Odoi will all miss the Leicester game, with Tuchel potentially rotating resources after Saturday’s punishing extra-time cup final. Kai Havertz faces a late fitness test on his hamstring problem.