AS Roma have reportedly ended their pursuit of Chris Smalling, turning their attention towards Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.

According to English journalist Miguel Delaney, AS Roma have turned their attention towards former defender Antonio Rudiger over a late move. The Serie A outfit have called off their pursuit of Chris Smalling and have had to consider alternatives, with the Chelsea outcast now on their agenda.

Rudiger joined Chelsea from AS Roma in the summer of 2017 and has since blown hot and cold at the heart of the defence. Injuries have played a part in his inconsistency as well, but poor form last season seems to have sealed the German international’s fate in Frank Lampard’s plans.

So far this term, Rudiger is the only Chelsea defender to have not featured in a single minute apart from new signing Malang Sarr, who is set to join FC Porto on loan. And, Rudiger, too, appears set to be on the move before the summer transfer window slams shut.

A number of clubs have been linked with the out-of-favour centre-back, with the latest reports claiming that Tottenham were leading the race to sign him. However, Chelsea are unwilling to let Rudiger join a direct rival, which has brought AS Roma into the picture now.

All through the summer, Roma have been after Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, who enjoyed a fine 2019/20 campaign at Stadio Olimpico. However, neither club has managed to reach an agreement over the key details of the transfer, with Miguel Delaney claiming that Roma prefer to sign him on loan again while Manchester United wished to cash in on the Englishman.

Set to don the famous Roma strip again? (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Set to don the famous Roma strip again? (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

The deal for Smalling has, therefore, seemingly collapsed, with Roma now having to set their sights elsewhere in desperate search for a central defensive reinforcement. That search has taken them to former defender Rudiger, who Chelsea are keen on offloading before the transfer deadline.

As per Delaney, Roma have been offered the chance to sign Rudiger, something that has been reported in Italian media as well. What now remains to be seen is if Roma offer Chelsea the terms they are looking for, or if they fall short in their pursuit of Rudiger, just like they have while chasing Smalling.

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