Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has decided to put an end to his five-year association with the Blues in the summer, according to The Athletic.
Rudiger has been a key player for the Stamford Bridge outfit under Thomas Tuchel. The centre-back has made 71 appearances for the club since the German tactician’s arrival last year.
The Germany international also played an important role on Chelsea’s road to UEFA Champions League glory last season. However, there are serious doubts about Rudiger’s future at the club as he is nearing the final two months of his contract.
Reports this week claimed that Rudiger will make a decision regarding his future by the end of the month. It has now emerged that the 29-year-old has made up his mind to leave Chelsea at the end of the season.
Rudiger will thus join another club on a free transfer in the summer transfer window. While it remains to be seen where the future lies for the defender, he will decide who he will join next week, according to the aforementioned source.
The German’s determination to make a decision regarding his future this month appears to have dealt a blow to the Blues’ hopes of retaining his services. Chelsea are not in a position to negotiate a new deal with any player as Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned and the club is currently up for sale.
Chelsea first approached Rudiger with a contract offer in August. However, the defender viewed the proposal as an insult and reportedly wanted £225,000 per week to sign a new deal.
The two parties then resumed talks over a fresh contract four months later, as per the report. Things appeared to be heading in a positive direction as they got closer to agreeing a new deal.
Tuchel’s side approached Rudiger with an improved offer in February if the report is to be believed. The deal would have seen him extend his stay at Stamford Bridge for another four years, while being one of the best-paid players at the club.
However, uncertainty around the club’s ownership brought negotiations to a standstill. It appears that Rudiger is in no mood to wait until Chelsea are taken over by the new owners.
Real Madrid keen on Chelsea’s Rudiger
Rudiger has been free to reach a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside England since January. Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Juventus and Bayern Munich have reportedly been in touch with the defender over a potential transfer.
The Blues’ Premier League rivals Manchester United have also been credited with an interest in the defender. However, Real Madrid could be the favorites to land the German on a free transfer.