Antonio Rudiger will be signing a contract with Juventus upon the expiry of his Chelsea deal, according to reports in Italy that contrast recent claims from England.
Rudiger is out of contract with Chelsea at the end of the season. It will bring an end to his five-year spell with the club. Heartbreakingly for the Blues, it has been reported that he was willing to extend his deal until the club became unable to negotiate such matters.
Therefore, by the summer, the Germany international will be changing clubs. After establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the Premier League, Rudiger has alerted several suitors.
The calibre of club chasing him has been high. The likes of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have been credited with an interest.
But according to Gazzetta Dello Sport, it is now a done deal for him to join Juventus in the summer. It will represent a return to Serie A for the former Roma defender.
An agreement has been found for Rudiger to sign a four-year contract with Juventus. Per Gazzetta, he preferred them to Madrid or Bayern. Since they are a foreign club, they are able to secure a pre-contract agreement.
He will help evolve their backline, which could lose Matthijs De Ligt for big money and has otherwise been reliant on the ageing duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
Rudiger is 29 years old, so is still in the prime of his career. Juventus will tie him down to a contract worth €6.5m per season (about £105,000 per week) until 2026. That is significantly less than reports elsewhere suggested he was holding out for.
His Chelsea career will end with a number of medals picked up along the way. His collection includes honours from the FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League, Super Cup and Club World Cup.
Soon, he will be part of a Juventus side trying to reassert their status in Italian football. They failed to make it 10 league titles in a row last season.
This term, they are seven points behind leaders AC Milan with nine games to go. Beyond that, they are trying to build to get back on top. Adding Rudiger is the next step of that process.
The report reminds that they could later turn to his Chelsea teammate Jorginho in midfield too. For now, though, Rudiger has been the subject of their focus – and they appear to have got the outcome they wanted.
Rudiger fades from Man Utd crosshairs
It will come as a blow to his other suitors, including a Manchester United side who were only hours ago said to be confident of signing him.
Man Utd could have kept Rudiger in the Premier League. The presence of fellow German Ralf Rangnick at the club may have helped.
On Friday, Football Insider reported that United would be confident of signing Rudiger if they could also appoint Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel as their next manager.
The Red Devils are searching for someone to succeed Rangnick, who has been serving as interim manager since the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Tuchel recently came into contention due to the uncertainty surrounding Chelsea. But he has pledged his future to his current club. In turn, he seems to have taken away United’s chances of luring Rudiger too.
Now, United must look elsewhere for defensive targets. As for Chelsea, they cannot make any signings to replace Rudiger – or fellow defenders Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta, who are also out of contract – as things stand.