Premier League • England

Granovskaia bites Chelsea bullet hoping for breakthrough, as big new contract offer springs twist

Jorginho and Antonio Rudiger celebrate after Chelsea beat Juventus in the Champions League, November 2021

Chelsea have increased their contract offer for Antonio Rudiger in the hope of convincing him to stay at Stamford Bridge, according to a report.

The Blues are facing something of a crisis in defence amid three players close to becoming free agents. While Rudiger’s situation has attracted strong attention, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta find themselves in the same position.

Indeed, all three are now well into the final six months of their deals and have yet to resolve their futures.

Rudiger has proved Chelsea’s star man at centre-back since his resurgence under manager Thomas Tuchel. As such, Blues chiefs including director Marina Granovskaia have made talks with him a priority.

Until now, Chelsea have so far failed to get too close to Rudiger’s reported £200,000 per week wage demands.

According to Goal, though, the west London club have now got closer to that mark.

They therefore hope the significant step forward can spring a breakthrough in negotiations.

Nevertheless, Rudiger is free to talk to overseas clubs as he is in the final six months of his contract. And Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are the leading candidates to sign him from abroad.

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger back on Bayern Munich radar

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger back on Bayern Munich radar

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is a target for Bayern Munich to replace Niklas Sule at the end of the season, according to reports.

Indeed, Goal adds that both clubs can offer a lucrative signing-on fee and match Rudiger’s salary demands.

As such, Chelsea find themselves in a delicate position and must find a compromise.

The Germany international defender struggled for form and minutes when Frank Lampard was in charge. However, Tuchel has reinvigorated his fellow countryman and made him one of the first names on the team sheet.

But as well as Rudiger, Azpilicueta and Christensen will also be leaving Chelsea as it stands. The former is a crucial figure as the club’s captain while Tuchel has labelled Christensen a “perfect fit” for his team.

Chelsea options if Rudiger and co. leave

Antonio Rudiger warms up for Chelsea ahead of Premier League game at Stamford Bridge

Should Rudiger, Christensen and Azpilicueta all leave at the end of the season, Chelsea will need to bring a new centre-back in.

Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is a long-term target and the Blues almost wrapped up a deal last summer. However, Sevilla then moved the goalposts over a deal for the France international.

Since then, Chelsea have kept tabs on Kounde, but Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo is a fresh target. The Uruguayan has enjoyed a fantastic rise at Barca in recent seasons.

As for Chelsea’s options if they do not bring someone else in, Trevoh Chalobah has impressed at the heart of the defence and Thiago Silva continues to star despite turning 37 last year.