Chelsea have had a very impressive transfer window, shelling out over £200 million on several quality players. But perhaps none of those are more impressive than the free transfer of Thiago Silva, who will shore up the backline.
Silva brings leadership, experienced, and reliability; three things this Chelsea defence lacked last season. One of these players guilty of inconsistency is Antonio Rudiger, who has fallen out of favour with manager Frank Lampard.
He is effectively the fifth-choice centre-back, behind Silva, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori, and even Andreas Christensen. Due to this, he now wants to leave the club this summer, according to Matt Law of The Telegraph.
Antonio Rudiger Set to Leave Chelsea
Massive Drop-Off Last Season
If you go back two years, Rudiger was among the best centre-halves in the Premier League. A staple in Chelsea’s starting 11, he provided pace, strength, and best of all, he was dependable.
He helped lead his side to a third-place finish in 2018/19 and looked set to establish himself as the Blues’ best centre-back. Then, last season happened.
Although he did struggle with injuries early on, he returned to full fitness by the new year. However, his performance was entirely different. His pace was still evident, but his tackling, positioning, and decision-making were all significantly worse.
Rudiger did score two important goals in a 2-2 draw against Leicester City, which ended up as a very important point in the top-four race. While we can’t take that away from him, his defending simply did not improve.
After the restart, he was no better, especially in the 3-2 loss at West Ham United, where Andriy Yarmolenko completely turned him inside out for the winning. He then proceeded to produce more costly errors in the match against Sheffield United, which his side lost 3-0. So, while he did gain Chelsea a pivotal point with his heading ability, he lost them more through his inconsistent defending.
It wasn’t just him to be fair. Christensen was just as unreliable, but he’s never been a top-five centre-back in the league, while Rudiger was two seasons ago. That’s why this drop-off in performance hurts for Chelsea fans.
Possible Funds for Declan Rice
Declan Rice has always been a target of Lampard’s, but the main problem has been West Ham’s astronomical asking price.
Chelsea faced a similar situation with Ben Chilwell and Leicester but were able to work the price tag down significantly, and the player’s desire to play at Stamford Bridge should help once again in that regard. Rudiger’s sale could raise the funds necessary to pay for a younger and more reliable Rice.
Even with his recent poor form, Rudiger is still a quality centre-back, and could once again find his touch in another league, or perhaps for a more defensive team in the Premier League. If a fee of around £40 million can be reached for the German, it will be very important for Chelsea.
Rudiger is on his way out, and it’s unfortunate because it could’ve all been very different. However, Chelsea can now use this funding to go after Rice, and Rudiger can benefit from more playing time at another club.