Chelsea risk the prospect of irritating Thomas Tuchel if transfer chief Marina Granovskaia goes against the manager’s wishes and cashes in on Antonio Rudiger.
The centre-back has become a key figure since Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge in January.
Rudiger fell out of favour under former boss Frank Lampard but made an instant impact during Tuchel’s early reign in the second half of last season.
The Germany international enjoyed an extended run in the side last term, starring during his side’s run to Champions League glory in May.
And he has started every game for Chelsea this season, taking his place at the heart of a hugely impressive defence.
Tuchel clearly sees Rudiger as part of his long-term plans, but the 28-year-old has yet to sign a new contract.
The defender’s current deal expires next summer and, with a number of clubs circling, Granovskaia may decide to cash in on the player in January to avoid losing him for free.
“Nothing is better than what he is doing for a new contract,” Tuchel said of Rudiger 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.
“He is an aggressive leader. He hates to lose, is hard to beat in duels, is very brave, and full of energy in his defending.”
If Rudiger is allowed to depart west London, the decision will likely irk Tuchel, who has a history of clashing with club hierarchies.
Tuchel came to blows with bosses at Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and did so again at Paris Saint-Germain last summer.
Chelsea chiefs will not want to pick fights with Tuchel after his impressive start to life at Stamford Bridge.
But if they do, they would be repeating the same mistake they made with Antonio Conte before the Italian departed the club three years ago.
“I don’t know if my ambition is shared by the club,” Conte hissed four months before he was shown the exit door.
“It’s very important to have coach and club with the same ambition – to improve the team, the quality of the players.
“If you have this situation, you can win the League, the FA Cup, the Champions League.
“I have great ambition but I don’t have money to spend for Chelsea. The club knows what my ambitions are.
“When you decide to work with this type of coach, you take on a coach with great ambition. Not a loser – a winner.”
Chelsea lost a great manager in Conte. They won’t want to risk doing the same again.