PSG departures hinder Tuchel's Champions League ambitions

By Sports Desk June 26, 2020

Thomas Tuchel believes Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League prospects are "different but not impossible" after learning he will not be able to call upon Thomas Meunier and Edinson Cavani.

PSG's all-time leading scorer Cavani and Belgium right-back Meunier rejected short-term contracts to stay on for the final stages of Europe's premier competition in August, with the Ligue 1 giants having reached the quarter-finals courtesy of victory over Tuchel's old employers Borussia Dortmund.

France's top-flight was curtailed in April, with PSG declared 2019-20 champions, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That in turn complicated matters for Tuchel's out-of-contract players, with an eye towards the Champions League and the finals of the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France – the latter two showpieces which are yet to be given rescheduled dates.

Captain Thiago Silva, along with Layvin Kurzawa, is reportedly set to stay on for the short term, but the veteran Brazil centre-back will not be offered a deal beyond this season.

"All the players are important to create a group and a mentality and to lose these three [Cavani, Silva and Meunier] decreases the group," Tuchel told a news conference.

"We have always played with these players and therefore we lose quality with their departures, that's for sure.

"After that it will not be impossible and I am convinced that we will be very strong. We have to prepare this team for the two finals with a very good mentality.

"We played an extraordinary Champions League with everyone. It is different but not impossible."

PSG were not only depleted in terms of senior professionals on their return to training this week.

Despite making 13 first-team appearances this season, 18-year-old defender Tanguy Kouassi has rejected an extended contract and is understood to be on the verge of joining Bayern Munich.

Midfielder Adil Aouchiche will also seek pastures new, although Kouassi's exit is the one preying on Tuchel's mind.

"For Adil I can understand because it is difficult to fight for a place in midfield at a club like this," he said.

"But for Tanguy, I'm sorry because it's been a pleasure to work with him. It's different because it's no secret, I wanted to keep him with us.

"He played against Dortmund, the most important game of the season with the most tension and stake. He played at 17 when he had no contract.

"There was confidence, he would have had minutes, he could have been a key player. I can't understand and I'm sad, but that's how it is. It is difficult to understand this situation for him."

Julian Draxler could also be heading for the exit door, with Hertha Berlin reported to be his next destination, although Tuchel would be keen to keep the Germany international.

"He is with us and for the moment," Tuchel added. "I only see the two finals and the Champions League. For me he is a very important player, I like working with him, he is ready.

"I count on him in the next four or five weeks for the finals and afterwards for the Champions League.

"After that is not my choice, we have to talk and make a decision together. I really like this player, I'm very happy that he is here."

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