Antonio Rudiger’s contract situation has left Stamford Bridge chiefs sweating over the long-term future of the German defender. But in an interview with Sky Sports, the star has given Chelsea hope of coming to an agreement before the end of the season.
Rudiger, 28, joined Chelsea in 2017 for a fee of £29million from Roma.
He initially thrived under Antonio Conte, becoming one of the Blues’ more reliable players in the heart of defence.
Yet his move away from Roma to west London started to turn sour under Frank Lampard, with the Englishman preferring Kurt Zouma to Rudiger, subsequently minimising his game time.
Fortunately for the German, his fellow countryman Thomas Tuchel came in and made him a key part of his plans, helping to transform Rudiger into one of the world’s best defenders.
With his contract expiring in July, he has notified some of the world’s biggest clubs to his availability, with Real Madrid and Manchester United both set to chase him on a free transfer in the summer.
But Rudiger has given fans fresh hope after admitting he has a special bond with Tuchel.
“Yeah [I was close to leaving], the way things were going for myself but also for the team,” Rudiger revealed.
“But in the winter period I was not keen to leave, to be honest. It was more in the summer period where I wanted to leave.
“But Thomas Tuchel came and the rest is history. He opened a new door, he played a big role.”