Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said he understood the interest in his side’s summer transfer plans but declined to rely on speculation linking the club to moves for Erling Haaland and Dayot Upamecano.

Chelsea are watching Haaland amid rumors that Borussia Dortmund might be ready to take advantage of the striker by the end of this season. Haaland has a £ 63 million release clause in its contract that won’t go into effect until 2022.

– Stream LIVE games and reruns on ESPN + (US only)

The 20-year-old would charge more than £ 100million this year – a sum that doesn’t put off potential applicants such as Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool. Chelsea are also keeping an eye on Bayern Munich defender David Alaba but Real Madrid are favorites for his signature.

The Upamecano from RB Leipzig has turned out to be a possible alternative in defense. When asked if he expects Chelsea to close deals for Haaland and the France international, Tuchel said: “I can understand your interest in this issue and understand the interest of every fan.” and supporters to talk about these issues.

“I’m also always a fan and interested in what’s going on. But now it’s February. There is still a long way to go. As you know me, or maybe get to know me better, I will not speak publicly about other players when they are under Contract.

“This is the kind of respect we show them, but above all our players. We think of our center-backs and our strikers first and push them to their limits. Everything else is decided behind closed doors.”

Tuchel said N’Golo Kante will make his first start since January 3 in the FA Cup fifth round at Barnsley on Thursday after overcoming Achilles tendon problems to play two substitutes against Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United .

Edge has been repeatedly linked to a move from Stamford Bridge but the former Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain coach said: “It’s very easy because I think N’Golo fits into the plans of every manager on the planet .

“I really wanted him on my teams. He’s a Chelsea player, a great Chelsea player and one of the best midfielders in the world. Now I’m so happy to have him on my squad. I’m so happy he has it is.” back again.

“When you look at his performance after an injury – we got him on the pitch against Tottenham without minutes beforehand, which was really difficult – he just did what he always did. He had everyone around him with his Support on the field helped. ” , Mentality and its quality.

“And when you see the step he took between the game at Tottenham, OK, you didn’t see it in practice, but in the 20 minutes against Sheffield it was a great achievement when we switched to three in midfield.

“It was very important to get out of the pressure and regain control of the game. I’m very, very impressed. I’ve known him for many years, we know him very well because we come from a French club, so we were very impressed on TV.

“But seeing the guy live, seeing how he works, how humble he is and what quality he gives this team is a gift to be his coach. I’m super happy. He will start tomorrow. His best for me Position is a double six. He can play a single six, but one of his strengths is having some kind of freedom in his game. “