And with good reason – indeed, the Germany centre-back is no stranger to the Premier League’s rumour columns. He was on Newcastle United’s radar in summer 2014, linked with Chelsea before moving to Roma on loan in 2015 and mooted as a prime Blues target again during Antonio Conte’s inaugural transfer window at Stamford Bridge. The former Stuttgart man also discussed interest from Manchester United two years ago, so his name has been bandied around the tabloids for some time.
The Daily Mail‘s latest report claims Chelsea are lining up a £35million bid for the 23-year-old now he’s back to full fitness (albeit, yet to feature for Roma this season) after an injury ruled out the chances of a summer switch to the Premier League and ended his participation in Euro 2016. It’s alleged Conte wants to sign at least one defender in January, with Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci, Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson and Burnley’s Michael Keane also on his hit list. But in regards to Rudiger, the Blues boss could face competition from fellow admirers Manchester City and Manchester United.
The Daily Mail describe him as ‘one of the best emerging defenders in Europe’ and it’s hard to disagree with that evaluation. Indeed, Ruidger is a phenomenal athlete, quick and powerful with a 6 foot 3 frame, and has already picked up eleven caps for a Germany team who’ve dominated world football over the past few years. He was one of the Bundesliga’s most promising while at Stuttgart and featured in all but eight of Roma’s 38 Serie A fixtures last season. Here’s a look at his progress over the last few years based on per-game metrics, courtesy of Squawka: