Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel hints at Frenkie de Jong plan as Barcelona ace ‘lays out terms’

In pictures: Leeds v Chelsea

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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has played down suggestions that he needs a new midfielder before the summer transfer deadline despite Sunday’s 3-0 defeat against Leeds United. Tuchel’s midfield was run ragged by the rampant hosts on a miserable afternoon at Elland Road, intensifying calls for the Blues to go all-out for Frenkie de Jong.

Conor Gallagher had a full Chelsea debut to forget as he struggled to contend with Leeds’ high-energy counterparts alongside Jorginho and, in the second-half, Ruben Loftus-Cheek. And with N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic out injured, Tuchel is reportedly hoping to delve into the transfer market for reinforcements.

However, speaking in his post-match press conference in West Yorkshire, the Chelsea boss poured cold water over suggestions he wants to strengthen his midfield ranks. When asked for his thoughts on Gallagher’s challenging day, Tuchel said: “This is not the day to talk about individual performances.”

The German coach was then pressed over whether it called for another midfielder at Stamford Bridge. He responded: “Another midfielder? We have Jorginho, we have N’Golo Kante, we have Ruben Loftus-Cheek, we have Conor Gallagher, we have Mateo Kovacic. They’re [Kante and Kovacic] injured, yeah. They will come back.”

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De Jong has been central to the longest-running saga of the summer, with Barcelona thought to be eager to cash in on him to balance the books. Manchester United’s active talks for his services surpassed the 100-day mark earlier this week, and recently, Chelsea have entered the frame.

The Blues are reportedly willing to match the £72million deal that United agreed for De Jong’s signature earlier in the transfer window as Chelsea’s new ownership looks to add to their backing of Tuchel before September 1. And according to Sport, the Dutchman wants to remain at Barca but could be convinced by a move to Chelsea if they make a good financial offer.

Tuchel posed a comfortable figure regarding his transfer stance behind his frustrated aura after his side’s first defeat of the campaign. But his desire to bolster in the middle of the park will have only grown after watching the scenes that unfolded at Elland Road.

With around 10 days of the transfer window left, though, time is running out for Chelsea and the Premier League’s other big-hitters to add to their ranks. And the £14m to £17m in deferred wages owed to De Jong remains, ultimately threatening to prove decisive in his short-term future.

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