Recent reports from The Daily Mail state that Manchester United have stepped up their interest in Chelsea’s star defender Antonio Rudiger as Ralf Rangnick looks set to add to his defensive options ahead of the 2022/23 season.
To be more precise, the German centre-back wants to be on a better pay scale – the best-paid defender in the Premier League. 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.
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 and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with the German defender.
Rudiger’s 2021/22 Season In Numbers
Antonio Rudiger joined Chelsea from the Italian 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 186 times for the Blues, winning the FA Cup (2018), Europa League (2018/19), Champions League (2020/21), Super Cup (2021/22), and Club World 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 1.1 tackles, one interception, 2.6 clearances, and 4.8 long balls per 90 minutes in the English top-flight. Furthermore, with an average WhoScored rating of 6.92, 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 to date.
The Perfect Signing For Rangnick?
Manchester United have been relatively poor in defence all season, conceding thirty-four goals over twenty-seven game weeks. Raphael Varane has been doing decently ever since he arrived from Real Madrid, but Harry Maguire has shown tremendous inconsistency on numerous occasions to 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)