Chelsea could be left to rue a summer transfer decision amid the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Antonio Rudiger after a glaring omission was revealed.
Arguably the greatest strength of Chelsea in the Thomas Tuchel era is their rock solid defence. The switch to a three-man backline has worked wonders and was the bedrock of their charge to Champions League glory last season.
The core components of Tuchel’s central defence have been Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva. Andreas Christensen has impressed when called upon too, though the former trio have generally been Tuchel’s preferred choices.
However, Azpilicueta, Christensen and Rudiger are all in the final years of their contracts. While the belief is that Azpilicueta and Christensen will re-sign, there is less certainty regarding Rudiger.
The German has attracted attention from European clubs far and wide, and the latest report revealed Blues chief Marina Granovskaia plans to offload the centre-half in January if he refuses to pen fresh terms – much to Tuchel’s dismay.
If Rudiger leaves in January or departs via free agency next year, a new name will have to be bought.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde could be revisited, though Chelsea seemingly already had a long-term answer on the books until this summer.
Fikayo Tomori was sold to AC Milan for £25m in June. The Englishman excelled on a short loan stint at the San Siro last season, resulting in a determined transfer pursuit this summer.
When selling young stars with big futures, clubs often opt to include a buy-back clause or option for first refusal. However, according to trusted journalist Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea did no such thing regarding Tomori.
Romano tweeted ‘unlike what they did for Tammy Abraham deal’, Chelsea have ‘not included’ a buy-back clause for Tomori.
The 23-year-old has already displaced club captain Alessio Romagnoli in the starting eleven amid a string of impressive displays. Milan shipped three against Liverpool on Wednesday night. But without several critical last-ditch interventions from Tomori, that figure could’ve been far greater.
But with no buy-back clause to speak of, Chelsea would be forced to break the bank if they wished to have Tomori fill the void.
Romano noted AC now consider Tomori ‘untouchable’ after ‘loving’ his impact thus far.
Lukaku blasted for late Inter act
Meanwhile, former Inter Milan striker Diego Milito has taken a swipe at recently departed strikers Romelu Lukaku and Mauro Icardi.
The 42-year-old Argentinian is one of Inter’s modern-day club legends, playing for five seasons at the San Siro. He won Serie A, the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana during his stint.
His efforts are well respected among the Nerazzurri fans and the former international has been heavily critical of both Lukaku and Mauro Icardi.
“I don’t like the way Icardi left, I could have given so much, however, he remains a top striker,” Milito told La Gazzetta dello Sport, via Football Italia.
“As for Lukaku, there is one thing you should never do: promise what you can’t deliver. It’s normal for a player to leave and go somewhere else. But the fans are disappointed for his declarations of loyalty before joining Chelsea.”