Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Chelsea Close In On German Defender: A Smart Move From Antonio Conte?

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

According to reports, Chelsea have finally reached an agreement with AS Roma centre-half Antonio Rudiger, as Antonio Conte desperately tries to beef up his back line ahead of what could be a hectic campaign up ahead. The 24-year-old marks the departure of yet another important player from the Roma camp, who are en route to fix the financial void, as a consequence of them breaching the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Reportedly, Chelsea have agreed to pay £33million to secure the German international’s services, which would include £29 million with around £4 million in potential add-ons.

The player has been a long-term target for Conte, who found it difficult to work with limited quality players in his squad last season. Although he won the Premier League title in his debut season, lack of plan B saw them clearly being outplayed by Arsenal in the FA Cup final.

The addition of Rudiger would be a major upgrade to Chelsea’s back line upon the likes of David Luiz and Garry Cahill. The German international is quite acquainted with the back-three formation as Roma usually play with its variants, and therefore would take very little time in adapting to it. To top it off, his towering frame will give the Blues a gigantic advantage from set-pieces and aerial attacks.

The 24-year old is one of Joachim Low’s favourites and has been assuring at Germany’s central defence in the ongoing Confederations Cup. Despite his tender age, he has broken into the first team more often than the more established Jerome Boateng. Rudiger is tremendously versatile at the back as he can play in all the positions with equal ease.

It is Rudiger’s tremendous agility and aerial prowess that makes him a cherished defender. He could be a huge asset from set-pieces as he is very difficult to outmuscle. Since impressing first for Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart back in 2012, Rudiger hasn’t really stopped his progress. Although it was halted by a serious cruciate ligament injury in his first season with Roma, which kept him out for 135 days, forcing him to miss 13 games in the process, he has looked unperturbed by it since returning.

Rudiger’s injury history, however, isn’t the only concern for Conte. He is still inexperienced and is clearly a liability in holding on to the ball, which would need immediate improvements. However, in the wake of terrific back-ups like John Terry and Nathan Ake no more at the Stamford Bridge, his services will be priceless for Conte next term.

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