Tuchel dismisses Premier League links and claims Bayern Munich could compete with English elite

By Sports Desk March 25, 2023

Thomas Tuchel denied joining Bayern Munich was a backwards step and claimed the team he has inherited from Julian Nagelsmann would be title contenders if given a chance to play in the Premier League.

The former Chelsea boss had been recently linked with Tottenham and conceded on Saturday he had not expected his next job to be one in the Bundesliga.

Such a stance is understandable, given Tuchel would have looked at Bayern, perhaps the only team that could presently tempt him back to Germany, and believed they were planning a long-term tenure for Nagelsmann.

Until his sacking, that remained the Bayern stance, with Nagelsmann's departure and Tuchel's arrival announced simultaneously by the German giants on Friday.

Tuchel could scoop a treble in his first months in charge, with Bayern through to quarter-finals in the Champions League and DFB-Pokal and sitting just a point behind Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

He said it was "an honour" to be handed the job, revealed he almost joined Bayern five years ago, and scoffed at suggestions he had other offers that pushed Bayern to move quickly.

Asked about Bayern's position in relation to offer opportunities that might have come his way, Tuchel said: "I think it's fair to say the Premier League is an extremely incredible league, and with the highest level of competition in Europe right now.

"It's not a step back to come to the Bundesliga though. I think Bayern have a squad that could compete for the Premier League title."

Tuchel has signed up until the end of the 2024-25 season, dismissing any implication a two-and-a-half-year contract represented any sort of negative reflection on him, given Nagelsmann signed a five-year deal when he was appointed in April 2021.

"For me, the length of contract doesn't play a big role," Tuchel said. "We can be very honest about it. If things go well we can talk about extending it.

"It's a profession that's about performance and right now there's a lot of things changing: squads changing, clubs changing, hierarchies – if you look at Chelsea – that are changing completely. The length of the contract is perfect for me."

Tuchel said he was first contact by Bayern on Tuesday, when a call from sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic caught him by surprise.

He had become an in-demand boss, with Spurs rumoured to be keen as Antonio Conte looks set to depart, but Tuchel denied using any such factor in negotiations.

"My idea was my career would continue abroad and I wasn't expecting anything like this," Tuchel said. "Reports I used other offers as a means of applying pressure are not true."

He did not immediately jump at Bayern's proposal, needing time to consider if this was the sensible career path.

"I had to sleep on it first," Tuchel said. "The excitement and the thrill of taking on such a big task started outweighing everything else. We started communicating clearly between each other. There was nothing about other clubs."

It was confirmed Tuchel was in the frame for the Bayern job in 2018, when Jupp Heynckes was at the helm and looking set to depart at the season's end, but there was no certainty over that.

"I was very close to joining Bayern," Tuchel said. "At the time, Bayern had every right to wait for Jupp's decision."

Tuchel instead accepted an offer from Paris Saint-Germain, and he said of that moment: "The fact is, I couldn't wait for Jupp to make a decision on his own career.

"On this occasion, things did go very quickly, and it's a fantastic solution for me."

He described Bayern's group of players as "one of the most talented squads in Europe right now" and reflected they must not only win games and titles, but "it's about the way you win as well".

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