Antonio Rudiger’s impending exit has left Chelsea desperately seeking a left-sided centre-half, though reports have indicated Man Utd could scupper their plans for stand-out option Pau Torres.
Thomas Tuchel recently confirmed Rudiger will leave Chelsea this summer. The German defender has been nothing short of sensational over the last two seasons. However, his time at Stamford Bridge is now coming to an end.
Real Madrid are the current frontrunners for what would be an impressive free agent swoop. Tuchel stressed Chelsea did all they could to retain his star centre-back, though the club’s current sanctions made that aim impossible.
The Blues are currently unable to sign or sell new players, or indeed negotiate new contracts with current stars. Mercifully for those of a Chelsea persuasion, those sanctions will be lifted when the new owners are in place.
As such, the Telegraph report Tuchel will tell the new owners that two new defenders are required this summer. Aside from Rudiger, Andreas Christensen could also depart with Barcelona circling. Cesar Azpilicueta’s future is also in question.
Rudiger will be the most difficult to replace given he was the only elite player capable of operating on the left side of a back three. Malang Sarr has deputised in the position on occasion this year, though the youngster is far from the finished article as yet.
The Telegraph indicate Villarreal’s Pau Torres would be the stand-out option. However, it’s acknowledged competition for his signature is expected from Man Utd.
The Red Devils too are seeking new additions at the back. ESPN recently revealed incoming manager Erik ten Hag has already put Eric Bailly and Phil Jones up for sale.
Pau Torres in high demand
The Manchester Evening News reported last week that Torres is being targeted for a summer switch to Old Trafford. The Spaniard holds a release clause of around £50m (at current euros to pounds exchange rate) in his contract.
The Telegraph add Chelsea’s current restrictions could see United steal a march on the Torres front.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is another option Chelsea could explore, though the right-footer isn’t adept at playing on the left in a three.
United interested in Villarreal defender Pau Torres
Pau Torres is a target for Manchester United this summer as Villarreal move is likely
It’s claimed Man City’s Nathan Ake may have returned to Chelsea had Tuchel been at the helm when the Dutchman moved in 2020.
Left-footer Ake is more adept at playing in a three than the two Chelsea utilised when Lampard was in charge. The Blues had first option on Ake’s services but declined the idea of bringing him back on board.
That ship has now sailed, and with Rudiger departing, Chelsea have a difficult conundrum to solve at left centre-back.
If Man Utd push through a move for Pau Torres, Chelsea’s problem will become even greater.