Thomas Tuchel has distanced reports linking Chelsea with Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele.
Dembele, who’s Barca contract expires in June, is set to leave in January with the club confirming his time at the Camp Nou is over.
The likes of Newcastle have been linked with the 24-year-old Frenchman but Chelsea are the latest club to enter the race, according to The Sun.
Tuchel and Dembele worked together as manager and player at Borussia Dortmund and although the German didn’t want to comment on the reports, he didn’t rule anything out.
“He’s a very good player in his top level and I’m very fortunate to have trained him in my time at Dortmund,” Tuchel told journalists.
“It was only one year, it should’ve been longer but I needed to leave and he decided to leave.
“From there we haven’t been in the closest contact, we’ve met here and there because of his duties for the French national team and I was in Paris so this was more or less for when they were preparing for international duties. It’s very near Paris so this is where we met and exchanged some messages.
“He’s in a situation, I have absolutely no idea why he’s in that situation. I have no idea what the situation in detail is. I know how I feel when it’s about my players so it’s better not to talk.”
Dembele’s career has stalled since completing a big-money move to Barca in 2017 but Tuchel highly rates the player.
Tuchel said Neymar is the most talented footballer he’s ever worked with, however, Dembele is right up there.
Tuchel told Sky Sports in May: “One of the first names that pops in my mind is Ousmane Dembele.
“When he stepped in in Dortmund, it was pretty natural. He was very, very outstanding.
“We had Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Dortmund so I am for sure missing top, top players but Ousmane Dembele was one of the craziest natural talents because he was hitting free-kicks with the left foot, corners with the left foot, going to the other corners and doing the in-swinger with the right, taking penalties with the left and right feet, dribbling, running shooting!
“That was really, really like on the highest level at 18 years old where your development is clearly not finished.”