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Paul Merson Reckons This Chelsea Defender Will Leave Next Year: Big Blow For Tuchel?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent column with The Daily Star, former Aston Villa forward Paul Merson reckoned that Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger will leave next year. Merson revealed his thoughts on the German international’s future whose contract with the Blues is set to expire in the summer of 2022 and wrote,

“Chelsea are going to miss Antonio Rudiger when he goes because it will take £60-70m to replace him.

“Rudiger is definitely leaving. If he wanted to sign a new contract he would have done it by now. There’s no chance he stays now.”

Rudiger’s Growing Influence At Stamford Bridge This Season

Merson’s claim, if true, would be a bitter pill to swallow for anyone associated with the West London club as Rudiger has established himself as a reliable centre-back in Thomas Tuchel’s first XI this season. The Berlin-born defensive ace has participated in 20 matches for Chelsea during this campaign, netting two goals and picking up two assists across all competitions.

The ex-AS Roma talent has been a rock at the back for the Blues based on his average of 1.1 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 2.5 clearances per 90 minutes in Premier League football. Rudiger has even been tidy when distributing the ball from inside his half after making 86% of his attempted passes in the top tier of English football (stats via whoscored).

Chelsea (Antonio Rudiger)
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 04: Jarrod Bowen of West Ham United battles for possession with Antonio Ruediger of Chelsea during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Chelsea at London Stadium on December 04, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Merson Reckons Rudiger Will Leave Chelsea Next Year: Big Blow For Tuchel?

Rudiger has proven his worth as a commanding central defender at Stamford Bridge as he can use his powerful 1.90m frame to dominate the aerial battle against the opposition attackers. He is a solid tackler of the ball as well and has got good defensive awareness to earn possession back for his team.

The 49-time German international is even proficient at clearing the danger when at risk of being exposed at the back. He has even passed the ball well out from the back. Hence, there is no doubt that losing a player of Rudiger’s attributes on a free transfer, will be a massive blow for Thomas Tuchel as it won’t be easy for the Chelsea boss to find a suitable replacement on the cheap.

The Blues should try everything in their power to convince the player to pen a new contract and stay at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of this campaign. However, if they fail to do so, Tuchel would have no choice but to spend on a quality centre-half capable of filling the German’s shoes at the West London club.

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