Antonio Rudiger: Barcelona monitoring Chelsea defender's situation as he enters final six months of contract

Antonio Rudiger has entered the final six months of his Chelsea contract; Barcelona are monitoring the defender's situation, while Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus have opened talks with his representatives; Thomas Tuchel: "The club is trying their very best with him."

Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger warming up prior to kick-off during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Saturday October 2, 2021.
Image: Antonio Rudiger joined Chelsea from Roma in 2017

Barcelona are monitoring Antonio Rudiger's contract situation, with the Chelsea defender now able to sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs after entering the final six months of his deal.

Sky Sports News reported earlier this week Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus have all opened talks with Rudiger's representatives over a free transfer in the summer.

Rudiger is in no rush to sign a pre-contract agreement with a new club, and the German international is aware there could be interest from Premier League sides if he becomes a free agent in the summer.

Ralf Rangnick, the Manchester United interim manager who will take up a consultancy at Old Trafford in the summer, is an admirer of Rudiger and knows the Chelsea defender's brother - who is also his agent - well.

Rudiger is 29 in March and his next contract could be the biggest of his career.

Xavi on the touchline during the Real Betis loss
Image: Barcelona appointed legendary midfielder Xavi as their new manager this season

But while the former Roma and Stuttgart defender is keen to be paid what he believes he is worth, the biggest factor when deciding his future will be the football project on offer.

Rudiger has not ruled out signing a new contract with Chelsea, but the European champions would have to make him the highest-paid defender in the Premier League if they were to keep him.

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Chelsea's most recent contract offer - made at the start of the season - was dismissed by Rudiger and his representatives as it promised to pay him only half of what the club's top earners make.

Despite the uncertainty over his future, Rudiger is understood to remain committed to Chelsea for the remainder of his contract and focused on helping Tuchel's side achieve their objectives.

Tuchel continues to count on Rudiger, with the head coach starting his compatriot in 20 Premier League games this season - the most of any Chelsea outfield player.

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Highlights from the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final match between Chelsea and Tottenham

Rudiger joined Chelsea from Roma in July 2017 and has gone on to win the FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League with the club.

Chelsea could be facing a number of departures in defence this summer, with captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen also seeing their contracts expire this summer.

However, Thiago Silva will remain at Stamford Bridge next season after signing a one-year contract extension on Monday.

'Rudiger assessing his options'

Sky Sports News' Dharmesh Sheth:

"It's something we have been talking about for the last few months when we knew Antonio Rudiger was entering the final year of his contract at Chelsea.

"As far as I'm aware now, Rudiger is in no rush to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club this month. Earlier this week we did say the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus, PSG and Bayern Munich had all made contact with Rudiger's representatives about a pre-contract. We are now told Barcelona are just keeping an eye on Rudiger's situation, as well as their own situation to see if they could do such a deal.

"But Rudiger is aware there could yet be Premier League interest in him and the thing with Premier League interest is, if they want to sign him on a free transfer, they can't talk to him now. They have to wait until the summer, hence why he will assess all of his options.

Thomas Tuchel (AP)
Image: Rudiger has played 27 games under Thomas Tuchel this season

"Signing a new contract at Stamford Bridge, as I have said before, that has not been ruled out. But what I have been saying for the past few months is if Chelsea are to keep Rudiger at Stamford Bridge, I'm told they'd have to make him the highest-paid defender in the Premier League.

"Rudiger turns 29 in March. This next contract could be his last big contract of his career. So, you can't blame him for just taking a step back to make the right decision for his career.

"And while he wants to get paid what he feels he deserves and what he feels he's worth, the final motivating factor will be the football project that would be available to him.

"Make no mistake about it, Chelsea are desperate to keep him. They do want to keep and of course, that could still happen. If he hasn't signed a pre-contract agreement with anyone, all options are still open."

Tuchel: Rudiger knows my appreciation

Thomas Tuchel told reporters ahead of Chelsea's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg win against Tottenham on Wednesday that he was hopeful Rudiger was aware of his admiration of his work, having turned him from a fringe player into a mainstay of his Chelsea defence since he was appointed head coach a year ago.

"I cannot predict the future and I don't know if his representatives are talking to other clubs or not," Tuchel said. "Of course, it is possible, it is January and he hasn't signed a new contract with us yet but we are in communication with him. The club is in dialogue with his people.

"I assume he is very aware of what I demand from him and how much I appreciate him. The level on which he is playing is still super high and outstanding. There are no doubts the situation is a concern for that.

"My opinion is very clear, the club is trying their very best with him so the situation has not changed a lot."

Di Marzio: Juventus not favourites for Rudiger signature

Sky Italia transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio told Sky Sports News:

"Juventus talked to Antonio Rudiger's agent, but they're not too confident that they are in pole position [to sign him]. There are more important clubs who want to sign Rudiger.

"If he was to come back to Italy, Juventus would like to have him back. The strategy at the club is different now - less money, less investment, so if he has PSG or other important clubs in Spain, I don't think Juventus are the favourites to sign him."

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