Chelsea are reportedly in talks with Italian club AS Roma to work out a deal for signing £30 million-rated German defender Antonio Rudiger.
According to a report by The Mirror, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is desperate to strengthen his squad’s defence ahead of next season and has identified AS Roma defender Antonio Rudiger as a key target. Rudiger’s asking price is about £30 million and Chelsea are hopeful of getting adding at least one centre-half to their side.
The former Stuttgart defender has been playing with Roma for two seasons now and is also a regular for the German national squad. Although he is primarily a central defender, he can also play at right-back. At present, he is playing in the Confederations Cup with Germany with the world champions set to face Chile in the final on Sunday night.
While the German defence hasn’t been the best so far as Joachim Low went ahead with a younger squad, Rudiger has been an exception. He does try to establish better-functioning defensive performances with his teammates and they have improved in that area as was evident when they played Mexico in the semi-final to win 4-1.
Despite winning the Premier League title last season, Conte is aware of the fact that there will be bigger hurdles next season and is searching for defensive reinforcements to strengthen his squad. The 24-year-old Rudiger is believed to be one of his main targets to add to the back line.
The Italian manager seeks a powerful defender with adequate physical strength and speed to match Chelsea’s style of play and Rudiger does possess those qualities. The Blues will remain especially hopeful to land a deal for Rudiger since he can be an apt replacement for John Terry.
However, if the deal does go through, Conte will need to bear in mind that Rudiger is most suited to playing on the right side of a back three. Last season, Cesar Azpilicueta was outstanding on the right side of Conte’s back-three and might have to test out his versatility again if that spot is allotted to Rudiger.
Azpilicueta has played at right-back or right-wing back before and has also played at left-back and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he has to take up one of those responsibilities.
Chelsea have also been rumoured to be interested in signing Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus and Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk. But, it now looks like Rudiger is a primary defensive target, with the Blues set to go all out in his pursuit.