“Show me the money!”
It’s been nearly a quarter century since Cuba Cooding Jr. delivered that iconic line as fictional (American) football player Rod Tidwell, but it remains just as true today as back then. In the world of professional sports, any professional sports, money is ultimately what speaks loudest. There may be other considerations of course, sporting, emotional, familial, and so on, but the financial tends to outweigh any and all at the end of the day.
And so it’s also true in the case of Antonio Rüdiger, who’s looking for (probably) the last big payday and long-term commitment of his career at age 28. Chelsea’s last offer, from the start of the season unfortunately has not met his expectations, especially with other big European teams reportedly ready to offer significantly more.
But recently, the narrative has been shifting back in Chelsea’s favor a bit, and while it’s far from a done deal, we may yet be able to agree an extension. A report today from the Telegraph’s Matt Law claims that Rüdiger is indeed “ready to listen” with the expectation that Chelsea are ready to improve our previous offer — if not necessarily in terms of raw wages then at least in terms of a hefty loyalty bonus. The report adds that Lukaku’s club-record deal and pay packet has shifted the wage scales at the club, with Rüdiger understandably not too enthused by an offer that would pay him just 43% of that (£140k vs. £325k), especially in the midst of a career-best season (a classic “contract-year” performance, to go back to another American sports cliché).
These are of course all eye-watering sums for most of us, but it’s about principles and relative “worth”. And it’s also about long-term planning and financial forecasts and commitments, at least from Chelsea’s perspective.
Can we find a middle ground to make both sides happy? We have apparently “not yet given up hope”.