Chelsea: Antonio Rudiger decided to leave ‘ages ago’ despite ‘big offer’ before sanctions | Football | Sport

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Antonio Rudiger decided to leave Chelsea ‘long ago’, despite suggestions that the club’s financial sanctions prevented them from renewing his contract. Rudiger is understood to be closing in on a free transfer to Real Madrid this summer after five successful years at Stamford Bridge.

According to the Independent, the 29-year-old’s mind was settled before the UK Government imposed sanctions on Chelsea and owner Roman Abramovich. Real was always his ‘most probable destination’ after rejecting an offer to extend his deal in west London.

The report claims Chelsea tabled a significant contract offer before being sanctioned for Abramovich’s close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, Rudiger’s representatives weren’t impressed by the financial aspect of the deal, despite a pay increase, and turned it down.

Chelsea insist the primary issues regarded the signing-on fee to be paid to the Germany international and the agent fees handed to his camp. But Rudiger was turned off by the club’s initial offer and subsequently pressed forward with plans to depart at the end of the season.

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According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Rudiger will sign his Real contract in the next few days, committing his future to the La Liga giants until June 2026. There isn’t expected to be an official announcement of his switch until the end of the campaign, but the deal is done.

Andreas Christensen is also understood to have agreed a move to Real’s long-time rivals Barcelona, joining Xavi Hernandez’s rebuild at Camp Nou. The duo’s exits risk leaving Thomas Tuchel thin on defensive numbers with plenty of uncertainty already rife amid the club’s ownership change.

READ MORE: Barcelona draw up Romelu Lukaku plan as ‘everything indicates’ exit

Beating Liverpool in next month’s FA Cup final would be a welcome consolation to what has been a disappointing season for the Blues. Tuchel’s side have failed to replicate the quality they showed to lift last season’s Champions League and fell away in the Premier League title race far too soon.

Whilst that’s a credit to Liverpool and leaders Manchester City’s excellence, the German head coach will be hungry to improve his ranks this summer and mount an improved challenge next term. He’s likely to receive funds from Todd Boehly, with the LA Dodgers owner’s group in pole position to buy the club from Abramovich in a £3.5billion deal.

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