We spent much of last summer chasing and being linked with players from AS Roma, two center backs, Kostas Manolas and Antonio Rudiger. Twelve months later, after seemingly being priced out and talked out of Virgil van Dijk and Leonardo Bonucci — and rightly so, at £70m and £50m+, respectively — we’re back to the Roma well.
The Manolas “check” was just the appetizer. Here comes the main course of Rudiger rumors like it’s 2016 all over again.
Di Marzio’s stuff has been rather miss than hit lately, but here’s Matt Law with a similar take not long after. (It’s also in the Guardian via Fabrizio Romano, who’s part of the Di Marzio cabal over at Sky Italia.)
Other than smacking of a desperate re-run (see also: anything involving Kalidou Koulibaly), a Rudiger chase is bound to sound disappointing after the (unreasonable) hype of Van Dijk and Bonucci, but Chelsea were apparently very close to a deal last summer before the Germany international suffered a knee ligament injury.
Remarkably, Rudiger was back to playing regularly by November and missed just three games the rest of the season, two of those coming via suspension for yellow and red cards. Most recently, he’s helped Germany reach the finals of the Confederations Cup. Rudiger was once very highly rated and was going to be the German national team’s first-choice center back alongside Jerome Boateng for Euro 2016 before suffering his injury — that knee injury, coupled with another knee operation the summer before are perhaps the only truly concerning aspects of this deal.
The Telegraph puts Rudiger’s price at around £30m, which, given that Ake just went £20m, is really not bad at all. The 24-year-old’s agent is apparently in London negotiating the move, so if that goes well, Rudiger could be the big-money addition to the center back corps that’s been rumored to be happening for some time. Add in the returning Andreas Christensen, and we have five very good options (and a sixth okay one, if Zouma stays) for three positions.
UPDATE: Romano puts the price at €33m (+5 bonuses), which translates to about £29+4.4m in today’s money.