This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
Chelsea want to accelerate contract talks for defender Antonio Rudiger, according to The Daily Mail.
As such, the Stamford Bridge outfit want to get him secured to a longer deal to avoid interest from rival clubs in the future.
Before the season had started, many would have expected the former VfB Stuttgart and AS Roma man to play a big role at the heart of the south-west London side’s defence. After all, he is clearly the most experienced centre-back and has 30 caps for Die Mannschaft as well.
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The term started difficultly from a defensive point of view. It took until the seventh game for Frank Lampard’s side to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League, whilst they also shipped against Valencia and Lille in Europe and even against Grimsby Town in the League Cup.
However, in the last six league matches, they have conceded just four goals, and Zouma and Tomori have started five of them together. They also kept out Ajax, last season’s Champions League semi-finalists, at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
Of course, there are still some teething problems that suggest all is not yet perfect – conceding four against de Godenzonen at home was only masked by that miraculous comeback – but the improvements are beginning to show. With the France international aged 25 and the former Derby County loanee just 21, the two have long futures ahead of them, and the partnership they are forging will only get better and better.
Where does all this leave 26-year-old Rudiger?
The injuries haven’t helped him, but right now, it is hard to see him breaking back into the starting XI. If he were to be content with a rotation role, then he would of course add value to the squad, but that seems unlikely considering his international experience and age.
As such, if a big offer were to be made next summer, it may be worth the Blues’ hierarchy taking it seriously, especially with the likes of Marc Guehi coming through as well. The circumstances have changed in SW6, and the £45m-valued defender – as per Transfermarkt – may end up being a victim of them.