Chelsea could be a step closer to addressing their centre-back problems after reportedly meeting the agent of coveted Roma defender Antonio Rudiger.
Chelsea’s defensive problems in the previous campaign have been clear for the world to see and it would be safe to say that if the Blues intend on making their way back to the top, big changes are required. One of the many names that has been linked with a move to SW6 before the start of next season is that of Antonio Rudiger, and it seems as that the Blues might have moved a step closer to acquiring their target.
According to a report in Football Italia, the German international is a target of incoming Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. His agents have reportedly met with Chelsea’s Marina Granovskaia to discuss the player’s personal terms. The report also states that Il Giallorossi are willing to lower their asking price to €22m.
Rudiger was on loan from Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart and Roma decided to activate his release clause in order to be able to sell him immediately for a profit. The report states that the German side are owed 10% of whatever fee Chelsea pay Roma to acquire the centre-back. The deal may also include a possible loan move to Rome for Chelsea’s Charly Musonda.
Roma have been scouting for potential replacements however, and the Italian side have been linked with moves for Lyon’s Samuel Umtiti and PSG’s Gregory Van der Wiel. Rudiger’s departure could prevent Kostas Manolas from leaving the club, and it may also allow the capital club to hold on to other Chelsea targets like Radja Nainggolan and Miralem Pjanic.
Start of a new look Chelsea defence
Chelsea were one of the clubs vying for Rudiger’s signature a year ago, but he was a second choice preference to Everton’s John Stones. When the move for the young Englishman failed, Chelsea turned their sights to the German centre-back. However, it proved to be too late in the window to complete a potential transfer.
A strong defensive lineup will be key to Conte’s new Chelsea team and Antonio Rudiger would be a fine addition to the Blues’ ranks. The Germany international is a big, physical player who isn’t afraid to tackle and has the pace to keep up with the best in the Premier League. At only 23, he has his best years ahead of him.
With Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill not proving as reliable as in previous seasons and with Kurt Zouma on the comeback trail after a long-term injury, reinforcements in defence are desperately needed for Antonio Conte and Chelsea. As such, Rudiger may very well be the immediate fix to their short-term problems, but also has the potential to be a mainstay in the Blues’ starting lineup for years to come.