Antonio Rudiger has defended Chelsea’s signings of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, highlighting the difficult situations the German duo have faced since coming to the club.
The defender’s fellow countrymen both made the switch to Stamford Bridge from the Bundesliga last summer for a combined value of £117.5million. However, they found themselves struggling to justify their price tags throughout large spells of the recent Premier League campaign.
The £70million-rated Havertz was hindered by a number of injuries this season alongside a lengthy struggle with COVID-19 that contributed to the attacking midfielder’s struggles.
As a result, the 21-year-old recorded just eight goals and nine assists in 44 appearances, although his performances have significantly improved under new manager Thomas Tuchel.
Unlike Havertz, most of Werner‘s issues have stemmed from on-field matters, with the striker struggling to recapture the confidence at RB Leipzig that attracted interest from the Blues.
Despite starting in nearly every game for the club this campaign, Werner has registered just 12 goals in 51 appearances.
Speaking to Chelsea TV, Rudiger stood by his fellow Germans, highlighting the difficult conditions under which they joined the club.
“When you come to England or a foreign country in general, it’s never easy because you need to adapt, for me, they have done quite well,” he said. “At the beginning they had difficulties, which is normal.
“Both are trying very hard. They are young guys. Hopefully they can kick on next season even better then what they are doing now at the end.”
Havertz and Werner have a crucial chance to prove their critics wrong this weekend, as Chelsea face Manchester City in the Champions League final.
Additionally, Rudiger himself can also round off a successful season by winning his first European trophy for the club – but it hasn’t always been plain sailing for the 28-year-old.
Rudiger reveals he chased Chelsea exit
In a recent interview with the Daily Mirror, Rudiger expressed his past desire to leave Chelsea after falling out of favour under ex-manager Frank Lampard.
Rudiger said: “When you look back to the summer, there were points I wanted to leave.
“Because if you think about my age, what’s coming up this summer, the Euros and everything, I didn’t see myself in the squad for one month so my first thought was to leave.”
Since his decision to stay, the Berlin native has been a stalwart in Tuchel’s defence and will look to reward his manager’s faith with the Champions League trophy.