Premier League • England

Abramovich, Tuchel talks seal Chelsea deal for perfect Rudiger replacement

Ronald Araujo raising his hand during a Barcelona match

Roman Abramovich and Thomas Tuchel have reportedly convinced Barcelona star Ronald Araujo to join Chelsea as Antonio Rudiger’s replacement.

Araujo only broke into the Barcelona first team last season but has established himself as a key part of their defence this term. And with Chelsea in the market for a new defender, the 22-year-old is viewed as the perfect man to replace the outgoing Rudiger.

The German is expected to leave on a free transfer when his contract runs out this summer, with Real Madrid, Liverpool and Tottenham all interested. Indeed a report on Thursday claims that the Reds will offer the player a significant salary increase to move to Merseyside.

With Rudiger on his way, El Nacional (via the Mirror) states that Blues owner Abramovich has promised Araujo ‘an irrefutable contract’. Tuchel, meanwhile, is said to have ‘secured him a role as the undisputed starter’.

Rudiger is not the only Chelsea out of contract this summer. Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta are all in the same boat.

Both Thiago and Christensen are being tipped to extend their stays, although Barca want Azpilicueta.

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Araujo a class act

As for Araujo, who has also been linked with Liverpool, one pundit believes the Barcelona man would be a perfect Premier League signing.

Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell said: “Araujo is a top young player. He is physical, young and improving all the time.

“He would be a signing that will future-proof the club. In Araujo you have a player for now and the future.

“I think he’d be a great signing for Liverpool. I’m sure there will be a number of clubs interested in him though because he is a good young player. It’s one to keep an eye on.”

It looks as if Liverpool’s loss could be Chelsea’s gain, if the latest reports are indeed correct.

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Chelsea target Everton man

Meanwhile, Chelsea are reportedly ready to jump on Lucas Digne’s problems at Everton by making a move for the left-back in the January transfer window.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks, with N’Golo Kante, Romelu Lukaku and Mateo Kovacic also missing time. But it’s Ben Chilwell’s partial ACL injury that has left the club short at left-back and prompted a potential move for Digne.

The England man suffered the problem in the Champions League win over Juventus. His initial diagnosis was six weeks out and then a review of the situation after that.

Rafa Benitez hugging Lucas Digne

However, if the former Leicester man needs surgery then he could be out for the season.

To that end, a swoop for Digne certainly makes sense after the Toffees star had a fallout with Rafa Benitez.

The France star was left out of the squad completely for Monday night’s comeback win over Arsenal. And The Athletic reports that Digne is unhappy with his role under the Spaniard.

Digne January exit possible

The report adds that Digne’s Goodison future is now up in the air and that a January exit is possible.

That is good timing for Chelsea and Tuchel, who has turned to Marcos Alonso in recent outings. But the normally reliable Blues star has proved a liability in recent dropped points against Manchester United and West Ham.

Saul Niguez has been mentioned as an option in Alonso’s place, while Callum Hudson-Odoi could also fill the role.

But Digne has been scouted by the Blues before, with his ability from set-pieces making him the perfect Chilwell replacement.

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