Tuchel favourite’s Chelsea exit saga takes twist with director’s confession

Date published: Sunday 26th September 2021 12:10 - Samuel Bannister

Thomas Tuchel greeting Chelsea centre-half Antonio Rudiger 2021

Another Bayern Munich official has commented on the chances of Antonio Rudiger joining the club from Chelsea amid his ongoing contractual uncertainty.

Rudiger is a few months into the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge. The prospect of him being available for free next year has alerted many European clubs. Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are among five clubs to have been linked so far. But perhaps the most likely club to sign him would be Bayern Munich, it has been thought.

The German giants could offer Rudiger the chance to return to his homeland, where he hasn’t played since leaving Stuttgart for Roma in 2015. Following two years in Italy, he secured his transfer to Chelsea. Since then, he has played in more than 150 matches and won four trophies.

Rudiger has undergone a career revival since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel in January. It previously seemed he was falling down the pecking order at Chelsea during Frank Lampard’s reign. There was even talk of an exit in 2020.

Now, the situation has changed, and any exit would be against Chelsea’s wishes. But it still seems a possible outcome.

Rudiger recently admitted he was facing the most important decision of his career, but denied he had spoken to any club other than Chelsea, who are trying to extend his contract.

In turn, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann refused to get drawn into the discussion of another club’s player. He also said he was yet to discuss such a matter with director of sport Hasan Salihamidzic – who has now made his own claims about the situation.

Salihamidzic concurred with Nagelsmann that it was not right to speak about a non-Bayern player, but cast doubt on the chances of a transfer for Rudiger due to the current options they have in defence.

“It’s not okay when we talk about players who are at other clubs,” the director told DAZN (via Sport Witness).

“Julian said that about him in the press conference, but he is a coach who sees quite a lot of players – so why shouldn’t he evaluate an international and talk about his strengths.

“(Bayern is) really well-staffed at centre-back. We have strengthened ourselves very well and brought in a top player in (Dayot) Upamecano; Lucas Hernandez is there, Tanguy Nianzou is there, Benjamin Pavard can also play inside – we are really very, very well staffed.

“We (he and Nagelsmann) have had very little time; I had an appointment today on Friday. We didn’t see each other for that long, but we talk a lot about players – sure.”

Rudiger Bayern links coincide with Sule Chelsea rumours

One player Salihamidzic did not mention was Niklas Sule, who like Rudiger is in the final year of his contract. Coincidentally, Chelsea have also been given a chance of signing Sule as and when he leaves Bayern.

They would still like to sign one more centre-back and their top target remains Jules Kounde of Sevilla. But there may be the opportunity of what would essentially be a swap with Bayern between Rudiger and Sule.

That said, Salihamidzic’s latest comments seem to suggest Rudiger’s future may not be in Munich. Furthermore, Sule remains a regular for Bayern and there is the idea that he could discuss a new contract in the new year.

The futures of the two defenders are still up for question until any agreements are reached.

READ MOREChelsea launch fresh assault on fearless Euro giant for nine-figure transfer

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