Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger reportedly tried to convince David Alaba to join him at Stamford Bridge last summer.
The Austria international decided to quit Bayern Munich on a free transfer at the end of last season. That led to plenty of interest in his signature, with European heavyweights PSG and Manchester City both eyeing deals.
But a report in the Daily Telegraph claims that the Blues were also in the running, with Rudiger actively looking to convince Alaba to make the move to west London.
However, Alaba ended up signing for Real Madrid instead and could, ironically, line up alongside Rudiger at the Bernabeu next season.
The report adds that Madrid are fully expecting the Germany international to head to Spain on a free transfer.
Rudiger has already rejected the offer of a new £140,000-a-week contract. Talks have also not progressed since the summer.
Thomas Tuchel remains hopeful that the defender will stay. Indeed, he said earlier this month: “We absolutely accept and are fully aware of the importance of Toni and the role that he’s playing on and off the pitch. There is no doubt about that.
“It’s true that nobody is bigger than the club and this is a team effort and a strong club. It’s not only about Toni and I mean that in the best way because we know what he’s doing and we’re fully aware of it.
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“In the end, we need a bit of patience.”
That patience, however, looks to wearing thin as far as Rudiger is concerned – with a move to Spain now seemingly inevitable.t
Chelsea face battle to land Wolves man
Meanwhile, Ralf Rangnick could battle Thomas Tuchel off the pitch next month after a report detailed Manchester United and Chelsea’s interest in Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves.
Midfield has been a point of contention for Tuchel and Chelsea this season. Injuries and Covid-19 have ravaged their options in the centre of the park of late. That led to Reece James playing 90 minutes in midfield against Zenit St Petersburg in early December.
Atletico loanee Saul Niguez has failed to ignite in the Premier League. Chelsea appear unlikely to turn his temporary move permanent when the season concludes at present.
Conor Gallagher will return from his loan spell at Crystal Palace to bolster the ranks. However, a fresh face in the middle would still be to Tuchel’s liking.
A report from Spain last week stated Tuchel had ‘demanded’ Chelsea sign Ruben Neves. The 24-year-old Portuguese international could be available for around €45m.
However, a fresh report from the Mirror (citing the Spanish press), has put Manchester United in the frame.
Rangnick identified midfield issues straight away
They too are seeking midfield reinforcements. Interim boss Rangnick identified the position as the first area United should improve during his initial interview for the role.
RB Leipzig’s Amadou Haidara has been mentioned. More ambitious targets are Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips and Borussia Dortmund sensation Jude Bellingham.
But per the Mirror, a more realistic option much closer to home is Neves.
That’s because Wolves are reportedly still struggling financially due to the Covid pandemic. A number of their more high profile stars could be available for transfer, including Neves.
Man Utd are deemed one club in the mix to capitalise in Wolves’ predicament. However, Chelsea, along with Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham are also attentive to Wolves’ plight.