Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel facing squad crisis due to Roman Abramovich sanctions

Thomas Tuchel discusses his future as Chelsea boss

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel may not be able to sign any new players after their owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government. The reigning European and world champions are one of many Abramovich assets to be frozen, after he was one of seven oligarchs to be hit with fresh sanctions, as part of the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Abramovich was in the process of receiving bids for the club after announcing he had put the west Londoners up for sale in the preceding week.

The club will be operating under a special sporting licence which allows them to play matches and pay reasonable costs such as the wages of players, staff, and coaches.

However, the club will not be able to sign any new players or commit any of their current stars to new contracts while the club is in the state it is currently in.

And this could prove to be an enormous problem for Tuchel, particularly as the club are set to lose defenders Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, and Andreas Christensen on free transfers.

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Chelsea had been in negotiations with the defensive trio, whose contracts expire at the end of the current campaign.

However, the fresh sanctions that have hit the club means they will not be able to offer or agree new deals to their current players.

Furthermore, the Blues are also set to lose vital revenue streams at the club as they are not allowed to sell any more match-day tickets or any club merchandise; only season ticket holders will be allowed to attend matches at Stamford Bridge.

Rudiger has been heavily linked with moves to Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur, while Azpilicueta and Christensen are believed to be wanted by Barcelona.

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The HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions justified Abramovich’s sanctioning, stating his high-profile ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“ABRAMOVICH is associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom ABRAMOVICH has had a close relationship for decades,” a statement read.

“This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government of Russia.

“This includes tax breaks received by companies linked to ABRAMOVICH, buying and selling shares from and to the state at favourable rates, and the contracts received in the run up to the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

“Therefore, ABRAMOVICH has received preferential treatment and concessions from Putin and the Government of Russia.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also welcomed the fresh sanctions, describing them as a sign of the UK’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine.

“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people,” Johnson said.

“We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”

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