Thomas Tuchel says a decision will be made on Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s future this summer.
The midfielder is on a season-long loan at Fulham, where he has been trying to recover full fitness after a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered just as he was finally enjoying an extended run in the Chelsea side.
That injury further frustrated Loftus-Cheek’s long-running attempts to establish himself in the Chelsea first team.
It is unclear what lies in store for him after his impending return from Fulham, who play the Blues in a west London derby on Saturday.
“It’s not decided yet,” said Chelsea boss Tuchel, who indicated that he wants to assess Loftus-Cheek himself.
The German explained: “I was quite a fan of him when he was even younger – he is still young.
“He reminded me a little bit in his style of play and his movements of Michael Ballack.
“We were well aware of his talent. I don’t know why things did not work out maybe like he wished and everybody wished.
“But he is on loan now and is doing good, leaving his footprints there.
“It’s absolutely unfair if I judge him from hearsay. Normally I love to work with players and give my opinion – maybe pretty quickly, but from direct impression.
“I don’t know what his idea is. I don’t know exactly what my opinion is and what the club’s opinion is. There’s no decision made yet.”
Tuchel was speaking at a press conference in which he was also asked about Andreas Christensen, who has suggested that he would like a new contract.
The Danish centre-back has impressed since Tuchel took over at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s best if he talks on the pitch. As long as Andreas is on the pitch and as long as he plays like he has then he has all rights to be here,” Tuchel said.
“I think he is happy to be here. I am happy he is here. I will not get involved in any other situations about talks and negotiations.
“I think he speaks for himself on the pitch and this is the most important thing. This is not the moment to get involved in any other issues.”