Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has said uncertainty over the club's ownership could be affecting contract talks with several key players and admitted fears are growing that defender Andreas Christensen will leave this summer.
Roman Abramovich's decision to sell the club has sparked a flurry of interest from all over the world with groups able to submit a formal offer before the March 15 deadline imposed by Raine Group, the New York-based merchant bank appointed to handle the sale.
Sources have told ESPN that Abramovich has already received multiple bids for the club but none have yet matched his £3 billion ($3.94bn) valuation.
Asked at a Wednesday news conference if the players involved were influenced by takeover talk and whether the club could still complete contract negotiations despite not knowing who the new owner will be, Tuchel said: "Actually, I cannot answer the question, I don't know. Does it have an effect on the players? Maybe. We need to ask the players.
"On the club, I don't know. I think that we are capable and I hope that we will be capable. Right now, it is still March and we have some time but of course there are some situations that we want to have solved. We couldn't solve them.
"It is not an ideal situation. On top of it, the players do very, very well, who are concerned, I have to say. For that, credit to the players for that. But it shows the mentality at the club and in the building that it is also normal for them deliver despite their personal contractual situation and this is what we rely on. Of course, hopefully we will have the chance to stay in talks and solve the things how we want them to be solved for us."
Christensen is believed to have held talks with representatives from Barca in recent weeks and despite Tuchel previously stating earlier in the season that he thought the centre-back would stay in west London, the head coach offered a more downbeat assessment now.
"Well it's in doubt," he said. "We hear the rumours and the situation with Andreas is also since many weeks clear and we are not happy about it.
"Because we, I, me personally and club representatives, we think that it's best for him to stay. And we rely heavily on him. He did not sign yet, so you cannot not communicate.
"This is also a signal to us and the communication from his side is that he did not sign until now.
"So we have to consider the possibility that he leaves us. Will we like it? No. Will we live with it? Yes.
"Things are not personal, never, never should be personal. But this can happen. But I have no further information. Not even information that I don't want to share, just no information at all."
Tuchel confirmed he would continue to use Christensen even if he signs a pre-contract agreement with an overseas club, as he is free to do with less than six months left on his deal.
"He's still our player and we will do what's best for us until his contract expires," Tuchel added.
"He's a Chelsea player, that's the point, and he knows we appreciate him a lot.
"I think it's a crucial point in his Chelsea career at the moment. I think it's a crucial point where he has the chance, at the perfect age and the perfect moment, regarding the situation, the system we play, the guys who play at his side.
"Considering all these circumstances it's for me the decisive moment for him to step up and be a huge Chelsea player for the next years.
"If he decides otherwise I will not take it personally and it's in the end not important if I understand it or not. But I will treat him as my player until the very last day, if he behaves how he has behaved."