Despite being one of his side’s standout performers in recent times, Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger could soon be set to depart the club.
The flamboyant German centre-back is out of contract at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season and failure to sign a new deal will see him eligible to speak to foreign clubs as early as January 2022.
Despite suggestions that the Blues have been negotiating new terms for the defender, a recent report from Spanish outlet Marca has claimed that Rudiger, 28, is not planning to sign on the dotted line.
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Since joining the Blues from Italian side Roma all the way back in 2017, the 28-year-old has gone on to feature in 164 matches, in all competitions.
However, although his deal is set to expire in just over six months time, it has been the last 18-months that has seen the defender enjoy his best football.
Having played a major role for Thomas Tuchel last season during a campaign that saw the Londoners lift the illustrious Champions League, Rudiger has really grown to become one of England’s most effective defenders.
Addressing the situation currently surrounding one of his first-choice centre-backs, Tuchel (as quoted by Metro), who spoke to reporters on Friday, said: “We know that [he can speak to foreign clubs in January], of course,’ said Tuchel on Friday.
“It is pretty clear what we want but it is not like this in football when the coach or club wants something and things happen.
“You have to accept that sometimes it can arrive and you end up in situations where things are in a bit of a delay and take time but I am very, very sure that Toni feels also how respected and what an important role he plays in this club.
“I’m calm because I feel Toni is calm. I feel the situation here calm inside and from here we go.”
Nevertheless though – with time running out to renew his contract, this January could very well see the Germany international agree to join one of his side’s biggest European rivals.
For example, one club heavily linked with signing Rudiger on a free transfer is La Liga giants Real Madrid.