Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia is reportedly ready to sell star Antonio Rudiger in the January transfer window with the Champions League winners still targeting Jules Kounde.
But the potential move would go against Thomas Tuchel’s wishes, with Rudiger having become a key player during Chelsea’s rise to prominence under the manager.
Rudiger again showed his worth in Chelsea’s win over Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday night, making a crucial goal-saving block and nearly scoring at the other end after running the length of the pitch.
After dropping down the pecking order under Frank Lampard, the 28-year-old has enjoyed a new lease of life under Tuchel, having found form during Chelsea’s surge to Champions League glory and a fourth-placed finish last season.
But the German defender is in the final year of his contract, with talks still ongoing over a new deal.
And the Premier League side could cash in on Rudiger in the new year if no resolution is reached by then.
That’s according to La Colina de Nervion, which claims Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are all keen on the centre-back.
The Spanish publication points out that Chelsea could renew their pursuit of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde if they were to sell Rudiger in January.
Of course, if there is no sign of Rudiger signing a new contract it would make financial sense to cash in, especially given it would help fund a move for his replacement.
But Tuchel is not likely to be happy if that is the case, having previously expressed his hope that Rudiger would sign a new deal.
“Nothing is better than what he is doing for a new contract,” the manager said back in May. “If he wants to have a new contract he has our full support to stay at the club.
“He is speaking with his performances; he has been amazing since day one. We chose him in the first match after just one day of training.
It was an unfair decision against Kurt but he’s German and I had a clearer picture of what he can do, of course, because I’ve followed him more than Kurt Zouma.
“I had a clear picture of what he can deliver to a team and he took the chance. Since then it’s well deserved he is in the team. He is an aggressive leader, has this natural aggressivity in him. He hates to lose, is hard to beat in duels, is very brave, and full of energy in his defending.
“He is leading by example and has a very positive aggressivity in him. This is what we like. When he can channel all this into top performances, as he does now, we are all very happy to have him.”
Sport1 reports that Rudiger’s brother, Sahr Senesie, is negotiating a new contract with Blues sporting director Marina Granovskaia.
However, the German outlet has claimed the former Roma man wants to take time and could explore other options.
Rudiger’s £100,000 per week salary does not even put him in the top 10 highest earners at Stamford Bridge – with the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Ben Chilwell all take home a bigger wage.
Sport1 claim Chelsea would therefore need to ‘stretch a lot’ to convince Rudiger to remain beyond next summer.