Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has backed Andreas Christensen to go on and become a club legend, with the Dane currently locked in a contract stand-off at Stamford Bridge.
90min has confirmed that talks between Chelsea and Christensen over a new contract have hit a wall and, as it stands, the 25-year-old would be free to negotiate himself a free transfer once the January transfer window opens.
Tuchel has done his best to stay out of the contract talks, but ahead of his side's Carabao Cup meeting with Southampton on Tuesday, he made no secret of his desire to see Christensen stay at the club.
"I think it’s important that we accept the personality of every player," Tuchel told the club's official website. "Some are more aggressive, some are more loud, some are more calm and he is a very calm guy, a very intelligent player.
"Sometimes you can get maybe a bit misled by judging him from his personality because he’s a hard defender and he’s the guy who is not shy to have hard tackles and to win challenges and to step up in games.
"He found his place, he’s very strong, he’s very reliable and he has not reached his limits because at this age there is still room to improve. So he can be an absolutely top defender for us in the next years and hopefully he will be because he comes from the Academy, he knows what it takes, and he has improved massively so far.
"But it’s not done yet. You have to show it over and over again. There are big examples at this club of what it takes to be a legend in defence and there is still a way to go but we are very happy so far."
Chelsea remain keen to keep Christensen at the club but have not improved their offer from nearly two months ago, which kept the Dane among the lowest earners in the starting lineup.
Nevertheless, Tuchel is under no illusion when it comes to just how crucial Christensen is to this Chelsea side.
"He's a super important player for us because he can play in all three positions in the back three," he continued. "He's a very technical defender, very calm in his personality, but I have the feeling that he's stepped up with his confidence.
"He plays a tough game now and can play very physical, he's not shy of making tackles or pushing himself to a physical limit, and that's what he needs. That's what you need as a Chelsea defender.
"He has his qualities on the sporting side, but he's also a trustworthy and reliable person. They're good as a defender. From time to time, he needs to be reminded to come out of his shell and show his strength, use his elbows, make yourself strong in your position and don't always rely on support from elsewhere. This is maybe the next step to become better and become a regular player for Chelsea."