Antonio Rudiger is likely to leave Chelsea before tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline but a move to Tottenham could be blocked even though it is the ideal destination for the defender, according to reports.
The Germany international has not featured for Frank Lampard’s side this season and has not been in the match-day squad whatsoever since their opening Premier League weekend win over Brighton.
With Rudiger keen to play for his country at the Euros next summer, the 27-year-old is keen to go out on loan to ensure he gets regular game time with Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen ahead of him in the Stamford Bridge pecking order.
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And while a move has yet to transpire as the window rapidly approaches its deadline, Goal say Rudiger is still expected to move on from Chelsea, with a loan move likely to spell the end of his time in west London.
Their Premier League rivals Tottenham are one of seven clubs to have registered interest – but only four are likely to rival Spurs for Rudiger at any point today.
That’s because Roma would prefer to sign Manchester United’s Chris Smalling and Inter Milan will only make a move if they lost Spurs-linked Milan Skriniar.
That leaves former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, now in charge of Spurs, battling West Ham, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan for the centre-back’s signature.
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Mourinho is keen to land a replacement for Jan Vertonghen, who left the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after his contract expired in June, and is keen on former Stuttgart and Roma ace Rudiger.
Goal say Spurs ticks every box for the player in that he would like to remain in London and wants to play for a club in Europe, with Mourinho’s charges having qualified for the Europa League group stages.
However, Chelsea may well block any move to Spurs because they may find themselves in a battle for top-four spots with their fellow London club and could also go head-to-head with them for silverware in cup competitions.
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That could open up the door for West Ham, PSG, Barca or AC Milan to make a swoop before this evening.
Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who spent four years at the club and scored 87 goals in 177 games, however believes Lampard is making a mistake if he does offload Rudiger today.
“They’ve all made mistakes but for me their best centre-back is Rudiger,” said Hasselbaink on Sky Sports.
“At the end of last season he didn’t have his best spell, he was out of the team but if you look at a whole season he has done the best.
“He normally smells danger and he clears it up. For Rudiger not to have played yet something is going on.”
Similarly, ESPN FC’s Don Hutchison declared: “Personally I think it’s a mistake as I think he’s [Rudiger’s] Chelsea’s best defender.
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“But the only thing is, looking at his injury record he’s had three operations on his knees in the last four years, one was an ACL.
“So you don’t know behind the scenes, even though age is with him, he’s only 27 and is bang in his prime, Frank and the medical staff will know how durable he is.
“When I look at Chelsea and I look at all the players they’ve got like Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, [Fikayo] Tomori, Thiago Silva, when I look at them I think their best defender is Antonio Rudiger.
“He’s reliable every single week, but for some reason [he’s not wanted], maybe it’s a personal problem and he’s got too much of a voice in the dressing room, or it’s that he’s been playing with these injuries.”
After their 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend, Chelsea return to action after the international break against Southampton on Saturday 17 October (3pm kick-off).
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