Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has reached a deal with Real Madrid to join the Spanish champions on a free transfer this summer.
Rudiger will officially join Real on July 1 on a four-year deal known to cost € 400,000 (£ 342,000) per week.
Chelsea’s contract with the German international expires at the end of the season and Blues boss Thomas Tuchel revealed last month that the defender has decided to reject a new deal at Stamford Bridge.
Many clubs across Europe – including the Premier League – are interested in Rudiger. However, Real are the first club to formally express an interest in signing him this summer, and the 29-year-old is thought to be flattering and impressed with Real’s pursuit.
Rudiger’s representatives spoke to Barcelona earlier this season, while he has also been linked with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.
John Terry, the former Chelsea captain, expressed his disappointment at Rudiger’s upcoming release last month. Responding to Sky Sports’ Instagram post about international Germany, Terry wrote: “How do we get this guy going?”
Staying at Chelsea is a possibility for Rudiger, but the penalties imposed by club owner Roman Abramovich have made talks of extending his deal impossible.
The European champions – who are set to be taken over by Todd Boehly’s consortium – have not been able to negotiate transfers or contract extensions since March.
Tuchel has revealed Rudiger’s decision to leave Chelsea following his team’s win against West Ham last month. Talking to Sky Sportshe said: “The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this in a private talk.
“We gave it our all – me and the club – but we couldn’t fight anymore because of the penalties. Without the penalties, at least we could have continued to fight, but our hands were tied. We didn’t do it personally. That’s what he said. decision.
“He’s a key man and will stay that way until the end of time. But it’s disappointing. We miss him so much.
“He gives courage in the dressing room – the kind that everyone dreads, but the kind of playing 50-55 games on an incredible level. He’s been a top defender over the past year and a half for me. .We will then have to find another solution. “
Asked whether Chelsea could replace Rudiger, Tuchel said: “Right now not, because of the penalties. Hopefully the penalties are in the past.
“We had a connection from day one and he deserves my full support. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to coach him on the team and the club is doing too. We have offers, great offers and been tested by the club all but let’s not fight anymore. We have sanctions, we can’t go on. That’s it.
“It can be ideal [for sanctions to be lifted before the transfer window] but despite our wishes, you can’t pull grass to make it grow faster. We have to face what the truth is. Penalties are still in place and the situation is yet to be clarified for next season. We’ve been trying to focus on the past few weeks. ”
Rudiger’s departure left Chelsea facing defensive rebuilding
Sky Sports’ Joe Shread:
It’s hard to overstate how big Antonio Rudiger’s loss will be for Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea this summer. Since the head coach arrived in January 2021, the defender has been a key part of the team that has won the Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup, as shown by the fact that he has played every minute in all three of the finals.
The graphic below shows Rudiger’s impact on the Chelsea field, but he has also been a significant influence off the pitch, especially during times of turmoil due to the club’s ownership situation. Tuchel admitted late last month that his German team-mate would leave a gap in the dressing room as big as the one he would leave in the heart of Chelsea’s defense, saying: “He gave it his all. trust in the dressing room. He’s a unique character and Plays on a unique level. Sometimes he focuses on her, he loves responsibility. “
Adding to Tuchel’s concerns is that Rudiger’s fellow center-back Andreas Christensen is also set to leave Stamford Bridge to end his deal this summer, while speculation continues that captain Cesar Azpilicueta will return. in Spain.
Believing Todd Boehly’s takeover to Chelsea continues as expected, Tuchel’s priority this summer should be to rebuild his defense, with Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr set to be the same first team centers behind the Blues roster.
Rudiger’s decision to stay west London will provide significant continuation during the club’s uncertainty, but going 29-year-old, Tuchel will know his team needs a number of significant upgrades in the back. – and fast.
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