Premier League • England

New promise boosts chances of Chelsea lynchpin being tempted by specific suitor

Cesar Azpilicueta, Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Rudiger celebrate

Juventus reportedly remain in the hunt for Antonio Rudiger, since they believe he can be the successor to Giorgio Chiellini – whose own future is now in doubt.

Rudiger is set to leave Chelsea at the end of the season when his contract expires. The only way the world champions can avoid that outcome is by getting a takeover across the line and entering late negotiations over a renewal.

As things stand, it looks more likely that Rudiger will be playing his football elsewhere from the summer onwards. After establishing himself among Europe’s elite in his position, there are many clubs willing to take him.

One of those is Juventus, although there have been some contrasting claims about their pursuit recently. At one time, it was thought a deal was agreed. Then, the move was put into doubt due to Rudiger’s requests for a signing-on bonus.

According to The Sun, though, the Juventus option remains very much on the table for Rudiger.

The Serie A side supposedly plan to lure Rudiger by promising him he will be the heir to Chiellini. The Italian veteran has led their backline with distinction for well more than a decade.

It will be important for Juventus to evolve their backline for a future beyond Chiellini and his compatriot Leonardo Bonucci. They have Matthijs De Ligt, but there are doubts over his own future.

Therefore, they could try to attract Rudiger on a free transfer, if they are willing to meet his salary demands.

It has already been reported that they are offering him €6.5m per season (around £105,000 per week). Rudiger may be holding out for more, but Juventus are hoping their project appeals.

They would give him the chance to return to Serie A after a two-year stint with Roma led to his Chelsea transfer in 2017.

Juventus won the league in each of the seasons Rudiger spent in Italy, within a nine-year title streak. That came to an end last season, when Inter dethroned them. But they are aiming to get back on top for the future.

Chiellini to quit Juventus sooner and heighten Rudiger need?

Giorgio Chiellini representing Juventus

Evolving their defence is a key task within that process. According to The Sun, the idea would be for Chiellini to stay on for one more season in the background while Rudiger, 29, takes over.

But reports elsewhere are suggesting Chiellini’s departure from Juventus could be even more urgent. He is considering his options for club and country after Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Set to turn 38 in the summer, Chiellini is under contract for one more season in Turin. However, Gazzetta Dello Sport are reporting that the centre-half could leave at the end of the season upon reflection.

After that, he would either move to the MLS or hang up his boots altogether and move into an off-the-field role with his current employers.

If he is to call time on his spell playing for Juventus, which began in 2005, it would accelerate their need for Rudiger to step up for them. First of all, though, they must wait to see if he will choose them or another suitor, like Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

The Sun believe Juventus would be Rudiger’s preference. For now, he will be focusing on seeing the season out strongly with Champions League holders Chelsea.

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