Finding a replacement for the German will be a tough task for Chelsea’s hierarchy, but there are some emerging candidates already. Let’s take a look at four of them below.
With Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel confirming that Antonio Rudiger wants to leave the club in the summer when his contract expires, the Blues will be looking to replace a key figure from their backline in recent years. In fact, the German centre-back is widely regarded as being Chelsea’s most reliable defensive option and a real leader in the side.
There is expected to be a lot of upheaval at Chelsea in the summer, with major changes likely to be on the horizon given the club’s off-the-pitch issues and an undoubted desire to challenge for major honours once again next season. This campaign, the Blues have failed to keep up with Premier League title contenders Manchester City and Liverpool, while also stuttering in the Champions League against Real Madrid. As such, Rudiger appears to be craving a new challenge as he attempts to be playing for a side that is topping the betting predictions when it comes to major honours next season. Right now, Chelsea’s future is somewhat uncertain, perhaps leaving Rudiger with an easy decision when it comes to departing the club, particularly with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG circling.
For Chelsea, Rudiger’s exit will be an undoubted loss. Not only is his ability as a defender hugely important, but he’s an infectious character who sets the tone with his passionate displays. Finding a replacement for the German will be a tough task for Chelsea’s hierarchy, but there are some emerging candidates already. Let’s take a look at four of them below.
Currently plying his trade for Italian giants Inter Milan, Milan Skriniar is a commanding and brave central defender in a similar mould to that of Rudiger. The 27-year-old is a tough competitor who can also excel in a defensive back three – a system regularly employed by Tuchel’s Chelsea. Inter Milan currently have the best defensive record in Serie A, with Skriniar playing an integral role in their defensive solidity. A reliable defender who is good on the ball and capable of operating in a number of defensive systems, the Slovakian international could be an option for the Blues.
After failing to land Jules Kounde in the past, Chelsea could well move for the Frenchman once again. Aged just 23, Kounde would be an investment for the future. Wanted by some of Europe’s top clubs, Kounde is known to be interested in a move to the Premier League side, although Chelsea’s hierarchy will need to be in place and active if they’re to be able to prize him away from Sevilla before another club does. The France star reportedly has a release clause of £68.7million.
Also linked with Manchester United and a few other clubs, Villarreal’s Pau Torres is a left-sided centre-back who would fit perfectly into Rudiger’s vacant slot. The Spaniard, who is widely regarded as being one of the best defenders in Europe at the moment, has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in the past and would surely be keen on it should the London club come calling in the summer. The 25-year-old has particularly caught the eye in the Champions League this season, helping minnows Villarreal keep clean sheets against giants Juventus and Bayern Munich.
Before leaving Ajax, Matthijs De Ligt was widely regarded as being one of the best young centre-backs in world football. Since sealing his move to Juventus, though, the Dutch defender hasn’t fulfilled his undoubted potential. Chelsea could be the perfect club for him to kick on once again.