Chelsea have received bittersweet news regarding the future of Antonio Rudiger who is attracting major European interest in the final year of his contract.
Rudiger, 28, has been a rock in the three-man backlines of Thomas Tuchel. But in the final year of his contract, concerns have begun to grow this season could be his last at Stamford Bridge.
Indeed, a plethora of European football’s heavy hitters have registered their interest. The likes of PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have been linked with Rudiger able to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs in January.
Losing Rudiger is an unfathomable thought for Tuchel. Indeed, the manager recently reiterated he hopes a new contract can be agreed.
“I hope they find a solution but it is not only between coaches and players and what we wish for,” the manager said. “It is between the club, the player and the agent.
“He has been excellent, a very consistent player on a high level, calm and focused. Everything is in place but sometimes players need a bit longer. It is nothing new from our side.”
Tuchel could be left disappointed after a report detailed Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia’s plan to remove all doubt. In order to avoid losing the centre-back for free, a January sale could be on the cards.
Now, Bild journalist Christian Falk has delivered a double-edged update for the Blues.
Falk confirmed Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern have ‘contacted’ Rudiger’s half-brother and agent, Sahr Senesie. Additionally, he confirmed Bayern are ‘interested’ in acquiring the defender.
Bayern oversaw the free agent departures of David Alaba and Jerome Boateng in the summer and only saw Dayot Upamecano arrive in the position in return.
However, in more positive news for Chelsea, Falk stated Rudiger’s ‘tendency’ is to sign a new Blues contract.
Tuchel relives pressure on Chelsea back-up
Meanwhile, Tuchel says there is no pressure on Kepa Arrizabalaga and has insisted there is a place at Chelsea for the £72m man.
The Chelsea boss insists he is happy with the Spaniard, who fell down the pecking order after Senegal star Edouard Mendy arrived under Frank Lampard in 2020.
And while Tuchel has also settled on Mendy as his No.1, he has made it clear that he wants to keep Kepa at Stamford Bridge.
“It was not necessary for him to prove to me he is a good goalkeeper. I see this every day in training,” said Tuchel.
“Maybe that was the point where he did not try too hard to convince everybody that he is worth the money that the club paid for him.
“Who cares about the money? OK, the money was paid, so what now? The question is now can we afford to have him as a goalkeeper?
“We have two super strong goalkeepers and we need both of them. If you need any proof, look at last weekend. He was a key factor in us keeping a clean sheet and it’s as easy as that.
“If the money is too high or not or whatever, these measurements do not exist for us. I feel the pressure is off his shoulders. It is well deserved that it is off his shoulders, because it is not his fault.”