Chelsea v Burnley: Match in Pictures
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Chelsea have been warned they would have to shell out a minimum of £30million to replace Antonio Rudiger and even then, there are not many defenders capable of replicating his contribution to Thomas Tuchel’s side. That is the verdict of former Blues midfielder Emmanuel Petit, who believes his old side are running a serious risk if they let Rudiger leave on a free transfer this summer.
As things stand, the German will depart the club when his contract expires at the beginning of June.
While Tuchel is not letting the situation affect his selection of Rudiger, he is now being forced to come to terms with his possible departure.
A whole host of top European clubs are believed to be monitoring the situation including Real Madrid, Bayern Munich Manchester City and Tottenham.
Rudiger and his representatives will be free to speak to clubs from outside the Premier League in January when he enters the final six months of his deal.
Talks between Chelsea and Rudiger’s agents are understood to have broken down with the two parties thought to be significantly far apart during negotiations.
And Petit is now fearful that Chelsea my live to regret not doing everything they can to keep Rudiger, who he feels has been integral since Tuchel’s appointment.
“If he leaves, it would be a real pity for Chelsea,” Petit told Bookmakers. “If I remember correctly before Tuchel came in he was on the bench and wasn’t playing. Now he looks like one of the best defenders around.
“He could leave on a free and Chelsea would have to spend a minimum of £30million to find a new defender of his level, and there’s never a guarantee a buy will work out.
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“If he asks for two more years, just give him the money.”
Rudiger has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League in 2021, helping push Chelsea all the way in the Champions League last season.
He remains central to the Blues’ hopes of winning the title this season but beyond that, he now looks destined to depart.
Petit has drawn comparisons to his former Arsenal team-mate Martin Keown, claiming Rudiger thrives off “destroying strikers.”
“He reminds me of the crazy defenders I used to play with back in the day like Martin Keown,” he added.
“Those types of guys were always really tough on other players, and playing against them was both a physical and mental battle because they could make you feel bad on the pitch.
“I think Rudiger is similar, and it must be very tough to be on the pitch with him because you can disappear very quickly. He always plays the ball but he also plays the players and strikers know that and it can be intimidating.
“Sometimes he tries to destroy strikers, and I don’t really like that side of his game. But for me, the priority of a defender is to scare strikers.
“People might not understand that but it’s true, you have to scare them to try and stop them from scoring goals. For me, Rudiger is one of the hardest defenders in the world.”
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