Rival’s hesitation sees Man Utd hopes swell over securing deal that would break Chelsea hearts

Chelsea trio Antonio Rudiger, Reece James and Kai Havertz

Chelsea’s fears of seeing Antonio Rudiger join Man Utd have heightened after a rival in the transfer saga hesitated for two clear reasons, per reports.

The German centre-half, 29, has arguably enjoyed his finest season yet at Stamford Bridge this year. Rudiger’s commitment to the cause despite becoming a free agent in the summer has been on show for all to see.

Rudiger was notably devastated upon Chelsea’s exit from the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid on Tuesday night. However, the way he reacted to the aggregate defeat did draw criticism from Rio Ferdinand.

Nevertheless, Rudiger has been a bright spark all season long and his loss this summer would be a huge blow to the Blues.

Chelsea are currently unable to negotiate new contracts for their stars amid Government-led sanctions.

They will be able to re-open talks with Rudiger once the takeover is completed, though the Sun note his previous contract offer was snubbed in February anyway.

Rudiger was reportedly offered £200,000-a-week to stay at Stamford Bridge. That proposal was rejected with the German seeking ‘a more lucrative deal’.

Barcelona, Juventus, PSG and Man Utd have all been linked with the defensive colossus. However, according to Bild journalist Christian Falk, Barcelona may now be out of the running.

Barcelona hesitate over Rudiger

Falk tweeted it’s ‘true’ that Barcelona are now hesitating with regards to signing Rudiger.

Online outlet BarcaUniversal offer two reasons as to why that is, with the first the obvious issue of wages. It’s claimed Barcelona ‘cannot dream’ of matching the level of salary Rudiger is demanding.

The second reason centres on the future of Ronaldo Araujo.

The Uruguayan has become a mainstay in Barcelona’s backline this season. Though he is still operating on the contract he signed when first joining the club.

Barca feared Araujo could take flight if a new deal containing vastly increased wages couldn’t be agreed – something that contributed to their interest in Rudiger.

However, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano recently revealed progress has been made over a new Araujo deal. A contract running to 2026 is due to be signed ‘in the coming days’.

And with Barcelona’s interest in Rudiger now reduced, Man Utd have one less suitor to worry about.

Of course, that development has also seen Chelsea’s chances of retaining the German swell too.