Real Madrid is leading the race to capture Antonio Rüdiger on a free transfer when his contract with Chelsea ends at the end of the season.
Chelsea tried unsuccessfully to tie Rüdiger down before Roman Abramovich’s fines rendered the club unable to award contracts or recruit new players.
The Stamford Bridge club offered the German international more than £200,000 a week, but he turned it down and is likely to decide on his next move soon.
Chelsea’s most recent attempt at talks with Rüdiger reportedly fell after a request to the club for a substantial signing-on fee and an agent fee for the player’s representatives made reaching a deal impossible.
Rüdiger’s departure would be a big blow to Thomas Tuchel, who is already on the verge of losing Andreas Christensen on a free transfer. Christensen’s contract is up at the end of the season, and the Denmark center-back is expected to join Barcelona.
The situation is likely to require Chelsea’s new owners to spend a lot of money this summer on Tuchel’s defense. The European champions made multiple attempts to keep Rüdiger, who has been one of their greatest performances this season.
However, new terms with the 29-year-old, who earns around £90,000 a week, have been unable to reach, and Rüdiger has decided to look for work elsewhere due to Chelsea’s inaction.
Since January 1, the former Roma defender has been authorized to speak with foreign clubs about a pre-contract arrangement.
Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain have all held conversations with Rüdiger’s representation, although Madrid is seen to be the favorite. Carlo Ancelotti, the manager of Real Madrid, is an admirer of Rüdiger and has pushed the club’s management to sign him.
Manchester United is also said to be keeping an eye on the situation.
Rüdiger could be followed out the door by César Azpilicueta, who will be sidelined with a groin injury when Chelsea faces West Ham tomorrow afternoon.
Even though Azpilicueta’s contract was extended for a year after he reached a certain amount of games earlier this season, Barcelona is still interested in him.
Chelsea’s urgency for their takeover to go through as quickly as possible is heightened by the uncertainty surrounding their defense. The three bidders vying to acquire Chelsea from Roman Abramovich could find out this week who has been chosen as the club’s preferred bidder.
Tuchel will be justify with Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr, and Trevoh Chalobah as his sole center-backs if Azpilicueta, Christensen, and Rüdiger depart. Levi Colwill, 19, who impressed on loan at Huddersfield, will have high expectations.
Chelsea, though, will need to spend after selling Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guéhi, and Kurt Zouma last summer, and may rekindle their interest in Sevilla’s Jules Koundé.
It will be interesting to watch if Chelsea continues to spend lavishly now that they are under new management. They are interested in Declan Rice, who has turned down West Ham’s last contract offer, but the midfielder’s £150 million price tag may have deterred even Abramovich.
“If we don’t have the crisis, he might be out of our league,” Tuchel speculated. “When you hear the numbers going about, it may be the case.”
As you know, when it comes to whether or not we are interested in other players, we normally don’t speak about it since we take care of the individuals we have here.
And the scenario gives me a tiny edge in that we can’t think about purchasing, selling, or doing anything right now, so there’s nothing to think about.”