Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Chelsea held talks with Harry Kane’s representatives, even though he thought the Tottenham Hotspur striker would join Manchester City.
But the Chelsea head coach was pleased Kane stayed at Tottenham because he believes, like Romelu Lukaku since returning to Stamford Bridge, he is a perfect fit for the club.
Tuchel publicly revealed his interest in Kane in May after the Tottenham forward had made clear his desire to move, and representatives of the 28-year-old had contacted Chelsea.
“We never had a list with his name on it and I never went to Marina [Granovskaia] to tell her to buy him,” Tuchel said. “But the club sorted out the situation. There are many people around players – their agents and advisers and people in between, and we had some information from these people, but it was never that close.”
Kane and Lukaku will go head-to-head when Tottenham host Chelsea tomorrow and, asked if he was relieved the England captain did not join City, Tuchel said: “I thought that this was going to happen. No, I was not scared, but if it would have happened I would have been very interested in how maybe it would have changed Manchester City’s style of playing.
“We are not afraid of anyone. We accept any team and Manchester City, Man United and Liverpool, they are the teams strong like no other in this league and they have strong squads.
“These are the guys with whom we want to compete and it’s normal that they fight for the best players and I thought this was maybe going to happen. On one side, I was happy that he stayed because it is also nice that it exists in football that players play for one club only, and so Harry Kane is Tottenham.
“It is also nice that Romelu is back at Chelsea and some things are a good fit and should not be changed.”
Chelsea re-signed Lukaku for £97.5 million (€115m) from Inter Milan and Tuchel believes the Belgian is a different type of striker to Kane, though the pair are so prolific.
Tuchel said: “I find that Romelu plays a bit higher up the pitch and Harry Kane likes to drop into No 10 positions, to pockets and turn and to assist. He has a super partnership with Son [Heung-min], so he is very strong in finding space between the lines. I find Romelu up higher in the pitch. But they also have similarities.
“They love to score and they score whenever they play, they are up for it and it is a certain mindset that you cannot learn. I am sure they both started showing this mindset when they started playing football when they were five, six, seven years old.
“These guys are born to score goals and if they do not score they are not happy. Harry does everything for his team no matter if he plays for Tottenham or England, he is not shy to work defensively. He does what is needed to do, to defend set-pieces and whatever. Romelu is the same, he is here to help us win titles. That is what big players do.”
Tottenham were one of the clubs interested in signing Antonio Rudiger last summer and the German is stalling on Chelsea’s offer of a new £140,000-a-week contract.
Rudiger could earn more than double his £100,000-a-week wages by leaving on a free transfer at the end of the season and Tuchel admitted he did not know if the central defender would re-sign.
“I hope that they find solutions, but it’s not only between coaches and players, and what we wish for,” Tuchel said. “And that’s why it’s between the club, the player and the agent at the moment.
“Everything is in place and give things the time they need. Sometimes it needs a bit longer. I am calm and relaxed, whatever has to happen will happen.”