Premier League • England

Intermediary offers startling truth behind Antonio Rudiger’s Chelsea to Real Madrid transfer

Antonio Rudiger Real Madrid September 2022

An intermediary in the deal that took Antonio Rudiger from Chelsea to Real Madrid says the Premier League club did very little to keep the defender at Stamford Bridge.

Germany international Rudiger’s contract at the London club was running down last season. And after renewal talks hit a dead end, the 29-year-old signed a pre-contract agreement with Real Madrid and eventually moved for fee in the summer.

Real claimed they had landed “one of the best defenders in the world” when Rudiger penned a four-year deal running until 2026. 

Chelsea referred to the “huge role” the centre-back had played at the club.

Rudiger had previously pointed to things behind the scenes which had speeded up his departure from the club. And in an interview with the Players’ Tribune he made it clear discussions had broken down last autumn.

“Business is business, but when you don’t hear any news from the club from August to January, the situation becomes complicated. After the first offer, there was a long gap of just nothing.”

And now Salif Rubie has uncovered more of what happened behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge. He challenged talkSPORT’s Simon Jordan over claims he labelled Rudiger “greedy” and said there were Premier League clubs who made bigger offers for his client that Real Madrid did.

Rubie told talkSPORT: “What if I told you Chelsea, and the old regime, basically made next to no effort to keep the player.

“At the time he was very happy to stay and potentially be the captain of the club. He was offered a contract that was half the amount Romelu Lukaku were earning.

“You are talking about trading in the margins.

“Listen, you owned a football club. If you were told you could have an asset worth £70m to £80m and you could get it for £10m to £15m, would you say that’s a good deal?”

New Chelsea regime point the finger

Jordan replied with “that is a good deal” but urged Rubie to add context.

“The new regime, who had to come and pick up the pieces of decisions that were made by the old regime,” added Rubie.

“Things like letting the lad go to Crystal Palace, who was also a defender. Letting another go for not a lot of money to AC Milan.

“When I spoke to the new regime, I said the old regime cost you £100m. Do you know what they said to me? More.

“Let me confirm this, live on air, the Real Madrid deal was the smallest deal on offer.

“There was a club in England offering almost double the amount and a club in Europe doubling the amount.

“I’m not going to discuss the specifics. Everyone knows there was teams interested in this player. He was one of the best in the world.”

Reshaped defence

Chelsea had to deal with the departures of Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. Both left o free transfers with the Roman Abramovich leadership allowing both deals to expire concurrently.

Marcos Alonso has since left by mutual consent to follow Christensen to Barcelona.

New American owner Todd Boehly personally took charge of transfers in the summer window. And on the face of it the inexperienced football director has provided Thomas Tuchel with a decent platform to build.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana have all arrived to shape a new-look defence. Had Boehly been at the helm earlier though he may well have made a better effort to keep hold of Rudiger.

That would have saved him some of the £164m he has invested in his new defensive trio.