Thomas Tuchel has admitted he can’t start thinking about life after Roman Abramovich at Chelsea.
Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich confirmed his “incredibly difficult decision” to sell Chelsea on Wednesday night, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
The 55-year-old has owned the Blues since 2003 and helped lead the Stamford Bridge club to 19 major trophies. But his glittering reign in west London is coming to an end, with a consortium of billionaires having already made public their interest in a deal.
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and US investor Todd Boehly are said to be two of the parties joining forces and preparing a bid for the Blues.
Abramovich could face sanctions from the British government given his closeness to the Russian state, although he also tried to broker a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.
Chelsea players and managers learned of Abramovich’s decision to sell the club late in the build-up to Wednesday’s 3-2 FA Cup fifth-round victory at Luton.
And a still-shocked Tuchel has admitted he will need time to get used to the big change on the cards at Stamford Bridge.
Asked to sum up Abramovich’s impact at Chelsea, the Blues boss replied: “It’s a bit too early because it’s big news. It’s a bit too early to talk because I can’t think of Chelsea than with Roman Abramovich.
“So it’s very difficult for me. I haven’t understood yet that it’s going to stop. It’s a huge change of direction.
“We didn’t talk about it [before the Luton match]. We didn’t talk about it, we accepted it. Players have internet connections, they watch TV so of course they know, they get messages. But still we focused on the preparation only on the sport.
“And maybe some players are affected more, some less, but in the end we managed to focus, grow in this game and find the key to winning it.
“I don’t think I need to talk about it, I don’t know as much as you might think. I’m not a CEO or a member of the board. So I’m very sure the club will will speak and players.
“I’m not so worried because I always feel privileged and in a good place. And I always hope and trust for the best. I’m not so much the person who worries about things that I can’t. influence.
“It’s big news, it will be a big change, but I’m never afraid of change and I will focus on what I can influence, and that’s the staff and the team at Cobham.”
Abramovich to sell Chelsea and donate proceeds to Ukrainian victims
Abramovich confirmed his intention to sell Chelsea in a lengthy statement released an hour before Wednesday’s draw at Kenilworth Road.
He said: “As I have said before, I have always taken decisions in the interest of the club.
“In the current situation, I have therefore made the decision to sell the club, as I believe it is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners.
“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part ways with the club in this way. However, I believe it is in the best interests of the club.
“I hope I can visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to you in person.
“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.”
86-year-old Swiss businessman Wyss has already revealed his intention to make an offer for Chelsea, in a move that appears designed to speed up a sale and potentially reduce the eventual price.
American Boehly has been revealed as the first of a series of possible partners, as Wyss tries to strike a deal.
Abramovich has vowed not to rush the sale of a club he led to two Champions League titles, as well as the Club World Cup title earlier this year.
Abramovich has pledged to write off his £1.5billion loan and divert the proceeds to help those suffering from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.