Barcelona director Mateu Alemany has confirmed talks with the agents of Chelsea defender and Real Madrid target Antonio Rudiger.

Speaking to Movistar+ (h/t GOAL), Barcelona sporting director Mateu Alemany has admitted that the club have held talks with the agent of Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger. But he has denied negotiating a move for the German international, who is a target for arch-rivals Real Madrid.

Rudiger’s time at Chelsea will come to an end this summer. Having joined the Blues from AS Roma in 2017, the 29-year-old has had a topsy-turvy tenure at Stamford Bridge. However, he has been in brilliant form over the past 15 months or so under Thomas Tuchel, helping Chelsea win the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

But, Rudiger’s contract with Chelsea runs out at the end of the season. And despite prolonged negotiations over a new deal, the two parties could not come to an agreement. And manager Tuchel confirmed on Sunday that the defensive stalwart would be departing Stamford Bridge once his current contract expires.

Rudiger has been attracting strong interest from several top clubs across Europe. Barcelona have been credited with an interest in the German international, while Manchester United have also been linked. However, Real Madrid have emerged as the likeliest destination for the former AS Roma star, having been in talks with the defender for a long time.

Reports have claimed that Real Madrid are inching closer and closer to signing Rudiger on a Bosman deal in the summer. Meanwhile, Barcelona have confirmed that they have spoken to the Chelsea superstar’s agent, although denying that a move for the 29-year-old was discussed.

“We had a meeting with his agent but we didn’t talk about that situation. Agents represent more than one player and that could lead to confusion. Also, it’s not our custom to talk about contracted players so we can’t help,” Barcelona director Mateu Alemany said. 

“Now is not the time to think about [next season]. We work in all positions and, at the end of the whole season, we will talk to the coach and make decisions based on the market,” he added.

Alemany might have tried to deflect Barcelona’s interest by stating that they were not negotiating for Rudiger but perhaps a different player represented by his agents. But, the Chelsea defender is the most high-profile player in his representatives’ clientele.

Considering the Catalans’ prowl for defensive reinforcements and their financial situation, they may have made an attempt to sign Rudiger on a Bosman deal. But, as things stand, the Chelsea defender is heading to Real Madrid, unless there is a late, dramatic twist in the tale.

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