Antonio Rudiger has decided to leave Chelsea this summer. This is not a massive shock if you have been gauging the mood music since the beginning of this season, even as far back as last June, there were suggestions he could have departed before the end of his contract.
But now, the 29-year-old defender is set to exit Stamford Bridge on a free transfer, leaving Chelsea’s defensive situation looking pretty weak heading into an already uncertain summer window under new ownership.
As reported by The Athletic, he has now made his mind up and opted to leave Stamford Bridge. The German has been one of the Blues’ most important players since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January 2021.
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After Chelsea felt the effects of the sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich last month by the UK Government, the club have been unable to discuss new contract offers with Rudiger and it is believed the player cannot wait any longer regarding his future.
With no guarantee over who will next own the club, Rudiger appears to have opted to move on from the club he signed for in 2017 for £29m from Roma. As The Athletic report goes on to reveal, Chelsea were determined to make Rudiger the highest-paid defender in their history. Back in February they offered him a four-year deal worth £230,000-a-week, plus a signing on fee, that Rudiger has turned down.
This is an added blow after reports of Andreas Christensen agreeing to join Barcelona have loomed over the club in recent weeks. And despite club captain Cesar Azpilicueta triggering a clause in his contract that keeps him at Chelsea for another 12 months, the Spaniard could still exit for the Camp Nou like Christensen.
Rudiger has been involved in five trophy wins during his Chelsea career, most notably the Champions League over Manchester City in Porto last May. The defender missed the defeat to Arsenal in midweek and will miss Sunday’s clash with West Ham with a minor groin injury.
There will be hopes now he can add a sixth honour to close his time in west London on a high in next month’s FA Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley on the 14th of May.