Tuchel hails Jorginho for playing through the pain for Chelsea
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Chelsea appear to be fighting a losing battle to keep Antonio Rudiger at the club beyond next summer as his contract saga rumbles on. Rudiger will be out of contract next summer and is yet to verbally agree terms of a new deal, with the likelihood of the Germany international departing for nothing increasing with every day.
The 28-year-old has been arguably one of the world’s most in-form defenders in 2021 after helping Chelsea win the Champions League in May and playing a key role in their defensive solidity.
He began the year searching for a loan move away, having been frozen out under previous boss Frank Lampard following some poor performances.
But when Tuchel arrived in January, Rudiger was quickly welcomed back into the fold and began to show the form that made him a fans’ favourite.
The club opened talks with the defender soon after to discuss a pay rise and contract extension, but Rudiger has stalled over putting pen to paper to weigh up his options.
News of his potential availability has reached Europe’s elite, with Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona all reportedly showing an interest.
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Rudiger and his agent have been locked in talks with Chelsea for several months, with director Marina Granvoskaia believed to be handling negotiations.
But according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, an agreement is still ‘far from being reached’, as it is understood Rudiger is asking for around £200,000-a-week.
The centre-back will be free to speak with foreign clubs about a tree transfer from January 1 and the Blues are running out of time to convince the German to renew his deal.
Tottenham, who had been close to reaching a loan deal for Rudiger earlier this year, had been linked with a swoop due to the player’s ties with Antonio Conte.
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The Italian signed him from Roma for £29million while he was Chelsea boss in July 2017 and also wanted to bring him to Inter Milan in his last job.
But Romano adds Spurs are no longer in the running to sign the former Stuttgart trainee.
Real Madrid are keen to snap him the Chelsea star as a free agent and are willing to hand him a lucrative contract, it has been reported in Spain.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side may be the only side left in the race as Bayern Munich have reportedly baulked at Rudiger’s wage demands.
Tuchel remains optimistic of finding an agreement with Rudiger, but indicated the club would not be held to ransom in talks.
“We absolutely accept and are fully aware of the importance of Toni and the role that he’s playing on and off the pitch,” Tuchel told the club’s official website. “There is no doubt about that.
“It’s true that nobody is bigger than the club and this is a team effort and a strong club.
“It’s not only about Toni and I mean that in the best way because we know what he’s doing and we’re fully aware of it.
“In the end, we need a bit of patience. I have no update right now.”
Rudiger was coy when asked about his future in November while away on international duty with Germany.
“For now I am only concentrating on what is happening right now,” he told German publication Welt am Sonntag, via The Mirror. “I owe that to the club, the coach and the team. I’m currently only focused on Chelsea. We’ll see what happens.”
Rudiger, who won two penalties in the 3-2 win over Leeds on Saturday, has made 166 appearances for the club, scoring nine goals.
He has also won four trophies in his time at the club, picking up winners’ medals in the FA Cup, Europa League, Champions League and Super Cup.
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