Tuchel outlines why Chelsea signed Saul on loan
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Chelsea have been impervious in defence under Thomas Tuchel and much of that is down to Andreas Christensen, who has ousted Thiago Silva from the line-up. That is why the Blues boss must act fast with his next job.
Chelsea star Christensen is quickly becoming one of the first names on the teamsheet for the club with his incredible displays at the back.
The Denmark international was phenomenal against Zenit St Petersburg, not putting a foot wrong as the Blues kept another clean sheet.
In fact, the 25-year-old has been sensational for some time now and deserves to be in for one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
His stats are mind-boggling for club and country and in his last 45 matches, Christensen has kept 37 clean sheets.
As a result, that means that in 82 per cent of games he has played in, not a single goal has been conceded.
That is not just down the defender, of course, with Chelsea having one of the best backlines in Europe.
Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta are either side of the Dane while behind him is Edouard Mendy, who was awarded the Goalkeeper of the Year by UEFA.
Yet the Cobham graduate still earns huge amounts of credit for ousting veteran star Silva out of the side.
Even though the Brazilian is set to turn 37 next month, he is still a world-class addition to the squad and it speaks volumes that Tuchel, who knows him from his time in charge of PSG, is picking Christensen instead.
One of the best compliments to pay the defender is just the way he makes everything look so easy, taking the sting out of potentially hazardous situations with elegance and poise.
That is a testament to his defensive acumen and his ability to read the game almost masterfully.
You will not often see Christensen flying into tackles and putting in last-ditch challenges, because he has snuffed the danger out long before it could reach such a stage.
There is almost an aura of that Italian-style of defender from yesteryear about him, the Alessandro Nestas and Paulo Maldinis – geniuses that made defending an art form.
And his ability on the ball just takes him to another level – and a trait that Tuchel loves in his defenders is their ability to spot a pass.
It gives the German manager a problem, though, with the centre-back’s contract expiring at the end of the season.
As of yet, there has been no breakthrough over a renewal and in January he will be free to speak to foreign clubs and potentially leave for nothing in the summer.
That would be disastrous for the Blues, who have needed patience with the defender but are reaping the rewards today as a result.
Last month, it was reported that Christensen was close to signing a four-year contract with an option for another 12 months.
But those talks have since gone cold but the player himself has confirmed that negotiations are still underway.
“I know a lot is being said right now. I cannot say too much, but I think it looks good,” he said last week.
“We have won the Champions League and the Super Cup. I am very happy to be at this club and feel Chelsea are the right place to be in England.”
Regardless, Tuchel must make sure that top of his to-do list is to sign Christensen to a new contract as soon as possible.
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