Tuchel praises Dembele as Chelsea are linked with France star

Thomas Tuchel has spoken highly of Ousmane Dembele amid reports linking the France forward with a potential move to Chelsea.

Dembele, 24, is expected to leave Barcelona, who want to sell him during this month’s transfer window.

His contract expires at the end of the season, when he would be able to walk away from the Nou Camp on a free transfer.

Dembele previously played under Chelsea boss Tuchel at German club Borussia Dortmund.

“He is a very good player when he is at his top level,” Tuchel said when asked about Dembele at a media conference on Friday.

“I was very fortunate to have trained him for one year at Dortmund. It should have been more, but I needed to leave and he decided to leave.

“From there, we are not in closest contact. We met here and there because of his duties for the French national team and I was in Paris. This is where we met, or exchanged some messages.

“But, he is in a situation. I have absolutely no idea why he is in that situation and I have absolutely no idea in detail what the situation is.

“I know how I feel when it is about my players, so it is better not to talk.”

Barcelona have told Dembele they want him to leave after months of wrangling over a new contract.

Meanwhile, Tuchel has confirmed that Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah will remain unavailable for Sunday’s match against Tottenham.