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Tuchel tells Chelsea to play hardball with Christensen, Rudiger and Azpilicueta although trio are eyeing free transfers

THOMAS TUCHEL believes that player salaries are not just pounds – it’s a matter of principle.

The Chelsea head coach has three senior stars out of contract at the end of this season and insists the club must not hold ransom for new contracts.

Tuchel told Chelsea not to be manipulated by the three stars whose contracts are out

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Tuchel told Chelsea not to be manipulated by the three stars whose contracts are outCredit: Reuters

The battle to keep Andreas Christensen looks lost but there are still struggles to convince fellow defenders Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta to stay.

Danish defender Christensen, 25, is being attracted partly by his heart but also by the fact he can secure a huge five-year deal with Spanish giants Barcelona.

As a free transfer Bosman, he is likely to earn a higher salary as there will be no transfer fee.

Tuchel understands the feeling of wanting to leave but also claims Chelsea must keep their salary pyramid intact or risk a split in the dressing room.

Ahead of Thursday’s Premier League trip to Norwich, he said: “First of all, I think Chelsea pay very well.

“If players are out of contract these days, maybe a package of money that we cannot match.

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“And if we fit it, it affects every other player. Some have agents that have other players here and then they know what’s being earned and I think we should be strong about that.

“On the Chelsea side, there is policy and guidance on what it takes and what it takes to become a Chelsea player – what you can get out of that and what is required.

“The club offers a lot of support – it provides financial security during Covid. We should not forget it.

“The structure, organization and what is offered to families is simply exceptional.

“Money can ruin anyone, not just the players – but this I don’t believe is given. I actually believe the opposite. We sometimes talk about it with the players.

“Money attracts problems that you might not have known about as a young man.

Chelsea risk losing three solid defences in the summer

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Chelsea risk losing three solid defences in the summerCredit: Andy Hooper-The Daily Mail

“That doesn’t always help and the idea could be that players are focusing too much on money and losing connection from the young guy who was supposed to come for free on the bus to Norwich.

“But it’s not always like this.”

Rudiger, 29, is wanted by Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United and even newcomer Newcastle.

He’s in the driver’s seat talking about a new deal.

Azpilicueta, 32, is struggling to secure a three-year contract and the club’s policy is to only extend it to a maximum of two years for those over 30.

All three players will be used by Tuchel between now and May whether they stay or go.

Chelsea have won both games since the club was put up for sale by Russian owner Roman Abramovich, and Tuchel is proud that his stars are weathering the turmoil.

“I hope we have the ability,” he said. Of course, there are some situations we want to deal with. It’s not ideal.

“The players involved do very, very well. Credits to the players. It shows the mentality here in the club and in the building that this is normal for them despite their contractual circumstances. ”

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https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4860831/tuchel-chelsea-christensen-rudiger-azpilicueta-transfer/ Tuchel tells Chelsea to play hardball with Christensen, Rudiger and Azpilicueta although trio are eyeing free transfers

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