Premier League • England

Chelsea growing increasing fearful top star will walk away for nothing

Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva of Chelsea

Chelsea officials are said to be growing increasingly fearful over centre-back Antonio Rudiger’s ongoing contract impasse.

Rudiger’s current Stamford Bridge deal expires at the end of the current campaign, meaning he will be able to negotiate freely with clubs outside of England from January onwards over a summer switch in 2022.

The Germany international joined the Blues from Roma in 2017 and has developed into one of the best central defenders in the Premier League since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival.

But according to a report in the Daily Telegraph, no progress has been made over a new deal – leaving Chelsea chiefs sweating over his future.

The 28-year-old is said to want a weekly wage of around £200,000-a-week. The length of his new deal is also proving an issue.

Rudiger turns 29 in March and the Blues are wary of offering him a multiple-year contract.

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As time goes on, and nothing is signed, the report in the Daily Express states that Chelsea are more likely to give in and bow to his demands.

Rudiger will not be short on offers for his signature, however. European heavyweights Real Madrid, PSG and Juventus are all keen on landing him.

A potential return to Germany could also come to fruition, with Bayern Munich also chasing Rudiger.

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Rudiger reveals Chelsea content

When asked recently about his contract situation, Rudiger was quick to reveal his happiness at Stamford Bridge.

“The most important thing is that I feel happy here,” Rudiger told The Guardian last month.

“I think if people look at it, they can see I’m happy. About the contract situation, I talk with the club. This is for nobody’s ears. It was how I said it would be after the Euros – there would be talks.

“There was a talk between Marina [Granovskaia, a Chelsea director] and my agent. We have the situation where we are at now and I have nothing to do with all the speculation.

“This is not in my mind. I’m focused on what I’m doing because this is why I wake up every morning.”

Rudiger was also full of praise for Blues boss Tuchel, who gave him a new lease of life when he replaced Frank Lampard in January.

“Tuchel gave me new life,” Rudiger said.

“I wouldn’t say he said: ‘You have to be the biggest speaker in the dressing room.’ I’m not like this. I like to show everything on the pitch. He told me what he expects – my natural game: to be aggressive, to be a leader.”

Rudiger is not the only Chelsea defender who will out of contract next summer. The Blues also have decisions to make over Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta.

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