Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is reportedly leaning towards staying at the club, according to the latest reports.
The Lowdown: Uncertain Future
The 29-year-old’s future remains up in the air owing to his current contract situation, with his existing deal set to expire this summer – sparking reported interest from the likes of Barcelona and Juventus.
Despite continuing to impress in west London, the Premier League outfit are currently unable to offer the German international a new deal, having been placed under sanction last month following now disqualified owner Roman Abramovich’s reported links to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Even prior to those economic restrictions, however, the £31.5m-rated man had been heavily linked with a departure at the end of the season, with the club believed to be unwilling to match his reported £200k-per-week wage demands.
The Latest: ‘Prefers to Stay’
According to Bild’s head of football Christian Falk, the Blues could retain the services of their defensive warrior beyond this summer, with the report suggesting that the former Roma man ‘prefers to stay’ at Stamford Bridge.
Falk goes on to add that the marauding centre-back will not make a decision on where his future lies until after the Champions League, quarter-final tie with Real Madrid, although he does also add that Rudiger’s potential suitors are hopeful that the per-week star ‘can’t wait for a decision of a new owner’.
“TRUE. @ToniRuediger still prefers to stay at @ChelseaFC. He won‘t decide before the matches against @realmadrid, but @FCBarcelona, @realmadrid, @juventusfc, @PSG_inside hope that he can‘t wait for a decision of a new owner of @ChelseaFC,” he tweeted.
The latest suggestion is that a sale may not be fully completed until May at the earliest, with that leaving the club with just a very small window to try and agree new terms before the Berlin-born ace’s deal runs out in June.
The Verdict: Why Would He Leave?
While there is nothing wrong with the defender seeking pastures new after five years in England – having signed on a £29m deal under Antonio Conte back in 2017 – it does beg the question as to whether the grass will actually be greener elsewhere, particularly with him having emerged as something of a cult figure among the Blues faithful.
After looking destined to depart after falling out of favour under Frank Lampard, the arrival of compatriot Thomas Tuchel sparked a sea change both for the player and for the club, with the £100k-per-week man – who has been dubbed an “animal” by Rio Ferdinand – proving pivotal in their European triumph of last term.
That stunning form has continued again this season for the one-time Stuttgart man, making 44 appearances in all competitions, with the club also still challenging for the FA Cup and Champions League, while a third-place finish in the top-flight also appears highly likely.
Unlike Paul Pogba’s situation at Manchester United, for instance, it is not as if Rudiger is at a club that is not challenging for major honours, with the 6 foot 3 colossus hard-pressed to find both a more competitive side and a more capable manager.