Football: Chelsea boss Tuchel says he had no contact with Barca's Dembele

Dembele was told by Barcelona to leave before the January transfer window closed, after negotiations over a new contract broke down. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he did not contact Barcelona's out-of-favour winger Ousmane Dembele during the January transfer window and that he was satisfied even though the Premier League club did not add new players.

British media reported Chelsea were interested in France international Dembele, who was told by Barcelona to leave before the January transfer window closed on Monday (Jan 31) after negotiations over a new contract broke down.

However, the France international, who played under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund in 2016-17, was unable to find another club before the window closed and will stay at Barcelona until the end of the campaign.

"I did not have contact with Ousmane (Dembele). There was no contact in winter between us," Tuchel told reporters on Friday.

"I am satisfied because it was a calm window and to be calm was the best thing. We were open for things."

Tuchel said the club tried to sign new players last month but settled for finding a solution within the current squad.

"We tried and had ideas. But in the end, we stick to what we have and are happy," the German said, adding that the injured Reece James is expected to be back soon but not in time for their Club World Cup semi-final next week.

"Azpi (Cesar Azpilicueta) at the moment is in fantastic form and a fantastic place. That is why it's fine. We try to find solutions in our squad."

Tuchel said Chelsea have a fit squad for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie against third-tier Plymouth Argyle apart from midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek and fullbacks James and Ben Chilwell, who are injured.

Forward Christian Pulisic and centre back Thiago Silva did not train after returning from international duty, Tuchel added.

Chelsea are third in the Premier League on 47 points after 24 matches, 10 points behind leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

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