Manchester United efforts to persuade Antonio Rudiger to join them on a free transfer this summer look destined to fail – but the snub will reportedly not prevent Harry Maguire facing an embarrassing demotion from Erik ten Hag.
The powerful German defender has proven himself one of the world’s elite centre-halves over the past year. Flourishing under his compatriot, Thomas Tuchel, Rudiger is playing the best football of his career. But with less than three months left on his contract, the Blues facing losing their star.
Chelsea have tried to persuade Rudiger to extend his stay time and again, without success. That said, the sanctions imposed on the club – and the enforced end of Roman Abramovich’s reign – have not helped matters.
In the subsequent weeks, Rudiger has found himself linked with a plethora of clubs.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus are all reportedly eyeing moves for Rudiger. Indeed, it was reported as early as Christmas that Rudiger was favouring a move to the Bernabeu.
However, with nothing formally announced, that has led to speculation that a move to United could be on the cards.
And while the Manchester Evening News confirms talks have been held, it seems Rudiger has decided against a move to Old Trafford.
Antonio Rudiger opts against Man Utd transfer
Now the Daily Mirror claims that United’s struggles to secure a top-four finish this season has put Rudiger off the move.
In addition, the paper suggests the defender is warming to the idea of signing an extension at Chelsea.
The Blues have reached one Champions League final, one Carabao Cup final and two FA Cup finals since Tuchel’s appointment. They, of course, famously beat Manchester City in Porto to win the biggest prize of them all.
As such, Rudiger suggested recently he may yet stay at Stamford Bridge.
“I feel great here, I have always said it,” he said. “I think the way I play you can see that I’m happy here.”
In reference to his new contract, he added: “But there are also other people who have to make decisions.”
Harry Maguire still faces captaincy loss
With United still very much intent on chasing a new centre-half this summer, they may reportedly turn their focus to Pau Torres.
Maguire may be relieved to learn Antonio Rudiger has decided against a move. That said, his future at Old Trafford still remains far from certain.
Indeed, the England man has struggled badly for form this season with many questioning both his role in the side and his leadership.
Having come under heavy fire, the Mirror indicates that the £80m man will be stripped of Manchester United captaincy. Indeed, that will be one of Erik ten Hag’s first decisions upon his appointment as manager.
Rudiger hoping to stay at Chelsea as he plays waiting game
Antonio Rudiger hoping to stay at Chelsea this summer despite Juventus and Real Madrid interest
United have conceded 44 goals in the Premier League this season, already matching last season’s tally. And they are in danger of their worst goals against tally in 40 years.
United do not have any immediate plans to sell Maguire. However, the article reckons he will have the captaincy removed in a bid to see if it can help rediscover his best form.
His actions as captain have come in for severe criticism, with perhaps the strongest condemnation coming from Roy Keane.