Chelsea have suffered a blow in their pursuit of AS Roma defender Antonio Rudiger, with the German rubbishing the rumours linking him away from the Serie A side

Chelsea are flying in the Premier League right now. With five wins in as many games, the Blues have spiraled upwards since October to second in the league table, a point behind leaders Liverpool. In the same period, they have experienced an upturn in their defensive fortunes having not conceded a single goal since the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of title rivals Arsenal.

It was reported earlier this week, though, that despite the recent success, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte isn’t resting easy. The Italian manager looking to make further improvements to his squad, particularly in defence having put together a shortlist of players who could provide a qualitative boost to his squad.

Antonio Rudiger is reportedly one of the prime targets in the said list, with Conte said to be a big fan of the German defender. The former Italy manager had, in fact, set his sights on the AS Roma man in the summer, but a potential move broke down after Rudiger suffered a devastating knee injury ahead of Euro 2016.

AS Roma's German defender Antonio Rudiger (L) vies Bologna's midfielder from Czech Republic Ladislav Krejci during the Italian Serie A football match AS Roma vs Bologna at the Olympic stadium in Rome, on November 6, 2016. / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

AS Roma’s German defender Antonio Rudiger (L) vies Bologna’s midfielder from Czech Republic Ladislav Krejci during the Italian Serie A football match AS Roma vs Bologna at the Olympic stadium in Rome, on November 6, 2016. (Photo credit – Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)

The Chelsea manager was reportedly set to rekindle his interest in Rudiger as the winter transfer window approaches. The Germany international has now quashed all the rumours linking him with a move away from Roma, saying he is happy with life at the Stadio Olimpico. Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Rudiger said: “I don’t want to know anything about it – I’m staying here and that is that.”

The centre-back, hailed as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe, recently recovered from the cruciate ligament injury to make a comeback into the Luciano Spalletti’s side. He has, since then, helped his side to consecutive clean sheets in Serie A, the first time Roma have gone two games in a row without conceding a goal.

Rudiger’s snub means that Antonio Conte and Chelsea must look for options elsewhere in order to add defensive reinforcements. Leonardo Bonucci and Michael Keane are said to be the other names in the Italian’s shortlist, and it remains to be seen whether Conte enters the market for either of these two in January or trusts his current defenders for the rest of the season.

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