Chelsea’s search for a defensive reinforcement looks like it has come to a successful conclusion.
With John Terry and Nathan Ake gone manager Antonio Conte would have been left with just Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen – both of whom have been linked with moves away – and the addition of Champions League football next season has added to the need to strengthen at the back.
According to the Guardian and Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Italy on Friday night, Chelsea have agreed a deal in the region of £29m for Roma defender Antonio Rudiger.The Serie A side had initially been holding out for more than £40m for the German international, but Chelsea have been able to talk them into a fixed payment of €33m with €5m more in potetnial add-ons.
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) June 30, 2017
Chelsea had been linked with moves for Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk and Leonardo Bonucci of Juventus but the enormous asking prices forced the club to look elsewhere. Rudiger’s Roma teammate Kostas Manolas was also a rumoured target but that seems to have come to nothing.
All going well, Rudiger will fly into London next week for a medical once his participation with Germany in the Confederations Cup has been concluded, where he will become Conte’s first signing of the summer. Chelsea’s business so far has mostly been departures, with Terry and Ake joined by Asmir Begovic, Bertrand Traore, Juan Cuadrado, Dominic Solanke and Christian Atsu all leaving on permanent deals.
That, however, is set to change next week as a £35m move for Monaco Tiemoue Bakayoko should be finalised in the coming days (which would pave the way for Nemanja Matic to join Manchester United for £40m), while the reigning Premier League champions are thought to be close to a club-record £61m deal to sign Juventus left-back Alex Sandro.
On this week’s Mixer Irish Football Podcast, we look at the League of Ireland clubs in Europe, as well as the usual look ahead to this weekend’s fixtures.