Barcelona are eyeing a deal for Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger this summer after his agent, Sahr Senesie, was filmed arriving at a hotel for crunch talks with club figures. The La Liga giants could be plotting a defensive raid of Stamford Bridge, with Rudiger the headliner ahead of his contract expiry.
Rudiger’s Chelsea deal expires in June, and he’s widely expected to depart the club on a free transfer. Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta will also be out of contract, and both have been strongly linked with switches to Camp Nou.
After flourishing into one of Europe’s best centre-backs in west London, acting as a peripheral figure in last season’s Champions League success, Rudiger is unsurprisingly attracting mass interest as the summer transfer window draws closer. And Barcelona have already put the wheels in motion to secure the 29-year-old’s services.
On Thursday, Sky Sports reporter Florian Plettenberg posted an exclusive video on Twitter of Rudiger’s agent arriving at a Barcelona hotel for talks with sporting director Mateu Alemany and sporting advisor Jordi Cruyff. He revealed their meeting lasted three hours and confirmed the Spanish giants’ interest in a deal.
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Earlier this month, reports claimed Juventus, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and two Premier League clubs, one thought to be Manchester United, were in contact with Rudiger’s representatives over a free transfer. United’s Ralf Rangnick is a long-term admirer of the Germany international, and he enters a consultancy role at Old Trafford this summer.
UK government and European Union sanctions on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich pushed Rudiger further toward the exit door. The Blues can’t currently extend any player’s contracts, which has also all but confirmed Christensen and Azpilicueta’s impending departures.
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Earlier this week, Barcelona president Joan Laporta confirmed: “We’ve completed two signings for the next season: one is a midfielder, the other one is a centre-back. But I’m not allowed to mention their names.” And according to Fabrizio Romanodeals for AC Milan’s Frank Kessie and Christensen are fully in place.
The Blaugrana’s interest in Chelsea captain Azpilicueta is thought to be less advanced, but there is reportedly a formal offer on the table for the Spaniard to join Xavi’s project. Rudiger’s arrival and Barcelona’s hopes of completing a stunning hat-trick of captures have grown more likely following this meeting.