Chelsea centre back Antonio Rudiger appears to be nearing a switch to Spanish giants Real Madrid after the 29-year-old turned down the Blues’ latest contract offer, which would make him the club’s highest-paid player at £230,000 per week.
However, with the club’s future still uncertain following the sanction of owner Roman Abramovich, which resulted in the Russian putting the Blues on the market, Rudiger’s future could see him playing at another club next season.
He currently earns £100,000 per week in west London, with his five-year deal set to expire at the end of the season, which means he has been able to negotiate with clubs outside of England since January.
Spanish capital the likeliest option
Reportedly, Real Madrid have been chasing the player for the best part of a year and on a free transfer, he would represent a considerable coup for the club, despite him turning 30 next year.
Having sold Raphael Varane to Manchester United last summer and losing Sergio Ramos to PSG which helped to balance the books, the La Liga giants have not really replaced them, with Carlo Ancelotti often utilising versatile player (and last summer’s free transfer) David Alaba in the heart of defence this season to great effect.
Rudiger would represent a great replacement for Ramos, with the German having been Chelsea’s standout performer for over 12 months, playing a key role in guiding the club to their Champions League triumph last term.
It would mean that Ancelotti can move Alaba into his natural central midfield position and allow Rudiger to forge a relationship with Brazilian talent Eder Militao who is starting to realise his potential since his much-anticipated arrival from Porto.
Chelsea in trouble?
Rudiger is not the only centre back who could leave on a free transfer this summer, with Danish ace Andreas Christensen also becoming increasingly likely to secure an exit.
Barcelona are understood to be leading the race for his signature and this would come as a big blow for Chelsea, whose long term future is still up in the air, despite there being a number of parties interested in buying the club.
Should both players move on, it would leave a gaping hole in the heart of the Blues’ defence, which at one point looked impenetrable under manager Thomas Tuchel.