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The battle for Roma defender continues as Liverpool, Manchester City and United join Chelsea in the hunt — report

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SS Lazio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images

According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea are preparing for a transfer battle in January for the services of Roma defender Antonio Rüdiger. The club have been interested in the 23-year-old’s services since 2015 — we possibly came very close to signing him last summer before an ACL injury put an end to those designs — but now we may be facing hefty competition for the player (or at least the agent would want us to believe that).

The Mail reports that Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City have also shown interest in the German international. Rüdiger returned to the pitch for Roma's first team on October 26th in a match against Sassuolo in the Italian Serie A, after recovering from the ACL injury he suffered in June during Germany's preparations for Euro 2016. Since then, with Rüdiger playing center back or, occasionaly, left back, Roma have recorded 6 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss across all competitions.

Roma suffered sanctions from UEFA last year after failing to meet to Financial Fair Play regulations, and as the stories have claimed since the summer, want to avoid a similar situation. Although their manager Luciano Spalletti isn't willing to let go of one of his key players, the club's hand might be forced if a good offer arrives in the transfer window.

Rüdiger is a young name, and his ability to play in the centre of the defence as well as on the flanks makes him a good target to fill in the three-men back line currently employed by Antonio Conte at Chelsea. Although depending on the price asked by Roma for his services, we might be better off looking for other targets, such as maybe Virgil van Dijk, as suggested by Ray Wilkins recently?