Chelsea and Manchester United are reportedly eyeing a deal to bring AS Roma defender Antonio Rudiger to the Premier League.
The Daily Mail have reported that AS Roma defender Antonio Rudiger is attracting heavy interest from the Premier League. Chelsea and Manchester United are both reported to be keen to secure the player’s signature in a bid to strengthen their respective defensive units.
Rudiger established himself as a key player in the AS Roma first-team setup last season following his move from Bundesliga outfit VfB Stuttgart. However, the centre-back suffered an injury to his knee ligaments which kept him out of the European Championships last summer and is currently on the comeback trail.
The German international is yet to feature for AS Roma in the current campaign, but is expected to soon be available to manager Luciano Spalletti. Rudiger recently featured for the club’s reserves, scoring and assisting in their win over Novara on Saturday.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte holds the defender in high regard and had reportedly earmarked him as a summer signing before he suffered the horrible injury. With Rudiger slowly regaining fitness, the Italian looks prepared to act on his interest with a January bid for the German.
Conte has only recently switched to a system with three central defenders and it has shown some promise for Chelsea. Antonio Rudiger would be able to play on the right side of the central defence, which would free up Cesar Azpilicueta to play in a more advanced right wing-back position.
However, the Italian is set to face competition for Rudiger from Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is yet to finalise his central defensive pairing and with Eric Bailly out with a long-term ligament injury, the Portuguese will be left with only two natural centre-backs in Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. The Ivory Coast centre-back will also be away in January at the African Cup of Nations if he is able to recover in time.
Netherlands international Daley Blind is also an option, but has impressed more on the left side of the defence. Meanwhile, Phil Jones is yet to prove his fitness under Mourinho. Thus the Portuguese is now looking to add centre-back options, which appears even more imperative after the recent 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea.
As per the Daily Mail report, AS Roma are unlikely to want to part with the player, with the club hierarchy viewing Rudiger as a long-term centre-back option for the first team. However, their resolve is sure to be tested with a bid of around £35m, a figure which is reportedly on Chelsea’s mind as they look to convince Roma to consider a sale. Manchester United, too, are unlikely to have any problems in matching Chelsea’s bid for the 23-year-old.
Paris Saint-Germain were also interested at one point in time and could reignite their interest in the defender, but it is likely to be another battle between Chelsea and their former manager Jose Mourinho — albeit this time in the transfer market — as they look to secure the signature of one of the hottest defensive properties in European football.