Recent reports from ESPN state that Manchester United are keen on signing Chelsea’s star defender Antonio Rudiger in the ongoing transfer window as Ralf Rangnick looks set to add to his defensive options.
While the news might come as a surprise to the audience, there’s no denying that the German centre-back wants to be on a better pay scale – the best-paid defender in the Premier League, to be more precise. Rudiger rejected Chelsea’s £140,000-a-week contract offer last August, and present reports reveal that he has demanded around £46million (roughly £220,000-a-week) across a four-year deal, be it at Stamford Bridge or elsewhere. Furthermore, the player has requested a £20 million signing-on fee.
The enormous demands have put Real Madrid out of the race for his signature, but Rangnick seems determined to capitalise on the situation by taking advantage of ‘his good relationship’ with the star’s agent Sehr Senesie. Nonetheless, Thomas Tuchel still wants him to renew with the Blues.
Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and Bayern Munich have also been linked with the German defender.
Rudiger’s 2021/22 Season In Numbers
Antonio Rudiger joined Chelsea from Serie A side AS Roma in the summer of 2017 for a fee in the region of £29 million. Given his achievements at the top level, it would be an understatement to say that he has had quite a successful career as a defender at Stamford Bridge. Over the last five years, he has featured 121 times for the Blues, winning the FA Cup (2018), Europa League (2018/19), Champions League (2020/21) and Super Cup (2021/22).
The Berlin-born centre-back has been an integral part of Thomas Tuchel’s 3-at-the-back plan – dropping top-notch performances on a weekly basis. Even this season, he has managed to put up some awe-inspiring numbers on the board – averaging 1.2 tackles, one interception, 2.6 clearances, and 4.3 long balls per 90 minutes in the English top-flight. Furthermore, with an average WhoScored rating of 6.88, he is one of the best-performing defenders in the Premier League this term. His obvious strengths are building the play from the back, aerial dominance, physical strength and concentration.
Given the wide range of defensive abilities the 28-year-old possesses under his belt, he can break into the starting eleven of any top European side at the moment. Perhaps letting him leave for free could turn out to be the worst decision Chelsea have made in the transfer market to date.
What Will He Add To Rangnick’s Side?
Manchester United have been relatively poor in defence all season, conceding thirty goals over twenty-one game weeks – three more than bottom-placed Burnley. Raphael Varane has been doing decently ever since he arrived from Real Madrid, but Harry Maguire has shown tremendous inconsistency on numerous occasions at the back.
Victor Lindelof has done enough to prove that Rangnick could depend on him in the hour of need. Eric Bailly and Phil Jones haven’t got too much game time yet, but one can conclude that they won’t be handed a start until and unless there’s some severe injury crisis.
Aged 28, Antonio Rudiger could turn out to be an exciting addition to United’s present squad as it would provide them with quality depth in defence. Although the wage demands are astronomically high and could potentially damage United’s wage structure, signing him might be possible with a few exits.
(Stats from WhoScored)