Tuchel says Chelsea may refuse to sign unvaccinated stars after Kante and Loftus-Cheek missed US tour due to Covid rules

THOMAS TUCHEL admits he may have to reconsider signing unvaccinated stars for Chelsea in the future.

Blues midfielders N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been unable to travel to the USA for the two-week pre-season tour due to their Covid-19 vaccination status.

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Kante missed 16 games last season due to a combination of injury and positive Covid testsCredit: Getty
Thomas Tuchel and the rest of the Chelsea squad are enjoying a pre-season in LA

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Thomas Tuchel and the rest of the Chelsea squad are enjoying a pre-season in LACredit: Getty

The absence of Frenchman Kante, 31, is a huge blow in the build-up to the new season, especially as he missed large chunks of last campaign due to injury.

The pair have been forced to remain at Cobham training with the Blues’ Under-23 coaching staff, and taking part in individual fitness programs to keep in shape.

When asked about his frustrations around not being able to integrate Kante with the squad in America, Tuchel joked that he should have vaccinated the player himself.

And pressed about whether vaccinations come into his mind when wanting to sign a player, German boss Tuchel continued: “Yes, it has to.

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“I knew some players who I’d also take without vaccination. I have to say.

“But yes, it is a part of daily life at the moment.

“We cannot force it. It is at the moment a very normal decision to get vaccinated. Both players took the decision not to.

“We need to follow the rules. They cannot join us. They know about the consequences.

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“We don’t like it. Of course not. We would love to have them here and it’s not an ideal solution.

“Far from ideal. But, once the situation is like this you need to come up with a solution.

“So, they have their coaches there. But it’ll not compensate. It will not be the same.”

Chelsea’s two big summer signings Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly have both been jabbed and have traveled out to America to join up with their new team-mates this week.

World Cup winner Kante missed 16 games last season with groin and knee problems, as well as testing positive TWICE for coronavirus.

Tuchel is determined to find the positives however, and believes this could be an advantage in Kante’s physical development.

He added: “For N’Golo it is maybe not even the worst thing to do. We can give him a very individual load. A very, very individualized load for him.

“So maybe we can turn a disadvantage into an advantage.

“I don’t think he in particular needs a long time to adapt to our game because N’Golo is N’Golo.

“Everybody is aware that he is a key player and needs to be a key player if you want to win big stuff.”

Ilkay Gundogan has not been named in Manchester City’s 26-man squad for their pre-season tour in the USA due to his vaccination status.

Phil Foden and John Stones also miss out due to US entry requirements, while Aymeric Laporte is not fully fit.

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Crystal Palace have also been impacted by unvaccinated stars, taking just TEN senior players to Singapore for their pre-season schedule.

However, restrictions on unvaccinated players have recently been lifted at the Eagles’ next location in Australia, where they play Manchester United and Leeds next week.

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