Chelsea 3-1 Southampton: Picture highlights
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Chelsea could repeat a mistake Arsenal made by breaking their wage structure to tie down senior stars to new contracts. The Blues have a pressing contract dilemma approaching with Antonio Rudiger entering the final year of his deal.
Rudiger has become a key player under Thomas Tuchel, featuring prominently during the successful Champions League campaign last term and in the improved Premier League form since Frank Lampard’s departure.
But the 28-year-old is still yet to sign a new contract.
It has been widely reported that his representatives remain in discussions with Chelsea’s sporting hierarchy but is considering his options.
Chelsea have until January to negotiate an extension before Rudiger can agree to a free transfer to a foreign club in the summer.
According to Eurosport, Rudiger currently earns around £130,000 per week but has requested an increase of around £70,000.
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A £200,000-per-week wage would make the defender one of the highest-paid players in the Chelsea squad.
And a huge increase could repeat a mistake Arsenal have twice made with stars who wanted huge new deals. Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were both handed mega extensions before their fortunes deteriorated.
Ozil was handed a fresh three-and-a-half-year extension in 2018 but his form declined.
The German was almost exiled by Arteta in the early months of the Spaniard’s tenure and eventually had his contract terminated in January. The 32-year-old joined Fenerbahce.
Arsenal then repeated their own error by negotiating a £350,000 per week renewal with Aubameyang, making him one of the highest-paid players in the Premier League.
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The Gabonese striker had scored 22 top-flight goals in the preceding season but his form spiralled.
Aubameyang netted just 10 times in the league last season and has just two in his six appearances this term.
There were even some rumours in the summer that he might depart. Barcelona were apparently interested.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has said he is confident that Rudiger will be tied down to a fresh deal.
“I hope that they find a solution but it’s not only between coaches and players,” he explained on September 17.
“It’s between the club and the player’s agent.
“He plays excellent for a long time – very consistent [and] at a very high level. I feel him very calm, very focused and it’s obviously not a distraction for him.
“So give things time – sometimes it needs a bit longer, sometimes things get very fast. There’s no news from my side.”
Tuchel later added: “I think Toni feels very, very good at Chelsea. He feels respect from his team-mates, he feels the importance he has in the team.
“It’s well deserved because he delivers.
“He feels the love from the supporters. He plays in the strongest league in Europe and in a big club, so not many reasons to change.
“But it’s in good hands. I’m calm and relaxed – whatever has to happen will happen.”
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