Thomas Tuchel admits Kepa Arrizabalaga is ‘not happy’ with his situation at Chelsea and has hailed the ‘incredible potential’ of Reece James.
Chelsea’s season will reach its conclusion with a home clash against Watford this weekend, with the West Londoners having secured Champions League qualification and reached both domestic cup finals.
The Blues have added the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup to their collection and attentions will now turn to the summer as Tuchel reshapes his squad at Stamford Bridge.
One name who could leave is Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has made just 14 appearances this season after losing his first-choice status to Edouard Mendy.
Tuchel admits the Spain international – signed in a world-record £72 million for a goalkeeper – is ‘unhappy’ with his situation as number two but has praised the shot-stopper’s contribution this season.
“It depends what he wants and what his plans are,” Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference.
“I know that we are very privileged to have Edou and Kepa in our squad but I also know for sure that Kepa is not happy about the situation because he deserved to play more and he can be a very strong number one. He arrived as a number one so the situation is not easy. He has been a fantastic team player since day one and never let anybody down.
“We did not have a conversation yet but I know that the goalkeeper coaches have these conversations at the moment and then we will take our time to speak with him and reflect on what’s best and what the possibilities are. As a coach, of course I’m super happy to have both strong goalkeepers so let’s see.”
Tuchel also discussed the development of Reece James, whose 13 goals and assists trail only Trent Alexander-Arnold among Premier League defenders this season.
James’ haul comes despite long absences on the sidelines through injury and Tuchel believes the right-back has ‘everything it takes to be one of the very best’.
“He has everything what it takes to be one of the very best but there is a long way to go for Reece,” Tuchel said. “He has incredible potential and ability – the foundation, the body and the mindset to make his way to the very top.
“There’s still a long way to go but we will support him and push him that he can be that player for Chelsea. We lacked huge quality this season from Reece, N’Golo Kante and Ben Chilwell. It’s maybe a miracle that we are in the top three for the whole season without these key players because we missed them for weeks and weeks.”