There is the expectation among the Real Madrid squad that Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rüdiger will move to the Santiago Bernabéu in the summer on a free transfer, with talks over a new contract in west London still at an impasse.
90min revealed earlier this month that Chelsea are now resigned to losing the German for nothing when his contract expires at the end of the season. Negotiations over a new deal have long been at a standstill, with the Blues’ most recent offer well short of matching Rüdiger’s desire to become one of the club’s highest-paid players.
The defender is free to enter sign a pre-contract with a European club in January, and as many as 11 top sides are vying for the 28-year-old’s signature, including Bayern Munich and Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.
However, the Telegraph has revealed that there is a growing confidence among the Real Madrid squad that the Germany international will choose to move to the Bernabéu at the end of his contract.
Rüdiger knows Real stars Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois from their time at Chelsea, while he is also a friend of former Bayern defender David Alaba, whom he failed to convince to move to Stamford Bridge last summer.
The report adds that Chelsea may yet raise their offer to Rüdiger – whose demands sit at around £300,000 per week – but the club does not want to be held to ransom due to the precedent that could set and the effect it might have in the dressing room.
Rüdiger has been in imperious form since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as Chelsea’s head coach in January and shifted to a back three. He was a key player in the Champions League triumph last season and has continued to look unplayable at times in 2021/22.
While Tuchel will be loath to lose his compatriot, he will be reassured that the Blues are confident of tying up new deals for both Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta – two defenders who are also out of contract at the end of the season.