Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Antonio Rudiger will be leaving the club, having failed to agree new terms for a contract renewal. The powerful central defender is now tipped for a free transfer move to Real Madrid, during what could be a summer of blockbuster signings at the Spanish giants.
Over the last several months and with the two key centre-backs approaching the end of their contracts, Chelsea had been seeking to clarify the futures of Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger. Danish international Christensen, who originally joined the London club as a youngster in 2012, had already signalled his intentions.
Christensen changed agents in December, according to the Mirror, which became a pivotal moment in his decision process regarding the future. Despite apparently being close to agreeing new terms at Chelsea the previous month, his new advisors prompted a change of heart. Despite the best efforts of Tuchel to convince him otherwise, having recently celebrated his 26th birthday, Christensen has reportedly agreed to join Barcelona on a free transfer.
Having already lost one important central defender, Chelsea were desperate to avoid losing another at all costs. Following prolonged negotiations with Rudiger, the main stumbling block to an agreement was reportedly down to his contract demands, amidst claims that he expected to double his wages in order to remain at Stamford Bridge.
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As the months passed and talks dragged on, Chelsea had shown an increased willingness to meet the terms requested by Rudiger, although unforeseen events threw a giant spanner in the works. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the British government issued sanctions against several Russian oligarchs, citing their ties to the Russian regime led by Vladimir Putin.
Roman Abramovich was amongst those who were sanctioned, as his UK assets were frozen and a travel ban to the country was enforced. Shortly afterwards, Abramovich announced that Chelsea Football Club would be put up for sale, sparking an ownership crisis. As part of the sanctions, business activity at Chelsea became severely restricted, including a ban on transfer dealings that included contract renewals.
From that point onwards, even amidst the prospect of new ownership being in place before the summer, it seems that Rudiger had run out of patience and made his final decision. “The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this in a private talk,” admitted Chelsea manager Tuchel, in comments highlighted by Football London. He pointed out that another contract offer had been made to Rudiger before sanctions were in place.
“We gave everything – me and the club – but we could not fight anymore because of the actions. Without the sanctions, we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but our hands are tied,” insisted Tuchel. “We don’t take it personally. It is his decision,” concluded the German coach.
Rudiger had previously been linked with interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, while Real Madrid were also rumoured to be monitoring his contract situation. Now it appears the Spanish giants have decided to make their move, according to famed transfer gossip journalist Fabrizio Romano, who claims that Real Madrid and Rudiger are in advanced talks. He states that a verbal agreement is already in place.
Should a deal be agreed that will take Rudiger to the Santiago Bernabeu, it could spark a busy summer of transfer activity at Real Madrid, who are also expected to finally clinch the signing of striker Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain. The French superstar would also arrive on a free transfer, having rejected contract renewal offers at his current club.
Indeed, this could be a very busy summer of transfer activity throughout Europe, as the elite clubs aim to strengthen their squads. Football fans everywhere around the world will be paying close attention to what happens, while many online bookmakers are offering markets and odds, including those which cover Asian countries.
If you are looking for the best online betting options in Thailand, the experts at SBO have compiled an extensive guide, highlighting which sites boast the most competitive odds, offers, and bonuses. They also focus on which betting companies provide the broadest range of betting markets, including those featuring transfer activity.
Considering the reported interest and contract negotiations, it might be wise to back Rudiger choosing Real Madrid as his next club. Once their president Florentino Perez tends to focus on a specific transfer move, he is famed for getting deals done, which makes it seem almost inevitable the German international will be playing in Spain and LaLiga next season.
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