Chelsea have agreed a £33.4m deal to sign Roma defender Antonio Rudiger, according to Sky in Italy, but does his heart ‘beat for Arsenal’?
Rudiger has played in three of Germany’s four Confederations Cup games en route to the final in Russia, and it is understood the centre-back will undergo a medical on Monday.
Chelsea allowed Nathan Ake to join Bournemouth in a £20m deal on Friday, while John Terry has left Stamford Bridge, so but what would Rudiger bring?
Antonio Rudiger – Factfile
Born in Berlin, Rudiger was also eligible to represent Sierra Leone – where his mother was born – but has since gone on to represent Germany at every age level from under-18s upwards.
Having spent his academy years at Borussia Dortmund, Rudiger’s rise through the national set-up coincided with a breakthrough into the Stuttgart second team in 2011, playing in the third tier of German football.
Just a year later, at the age of 18, Rudiger made his first-team debut against Borussia Monchengladbach, going on to make 80 appearances for the senior side across domestic and European competition.
In 2015, Serie A giants Roma came calling, shelling out €4m to take Rudiger on loan, before signing him on a permanent deal for €9m after one season.
Style of play
At 6ft 3in, Rudiger relishes an aerial battle and is unlikely to be fazed by the physicality of the Premier League while his speed across the ground will also be a bonus.
Germany boss Joachim Low, who picked Rudiger as part of his Germany squad for Euro 2016 only for the defender to be ruled out through injury, has likened the Roma man to Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng.
Although a little clumsy on the ball, Rudiger’s athleticism has allowed him to fit in anywhere across the back.
Where will he fit?
Rudiger plays primarily in central defence but is also comfortable at right back.
The 24-year-old would provide a quality alternative option to Cesar Azpilicueta on the right side of Chelsea’s back three should the deal go through.
While many expected Ake to return to Chelsea as part of the post-John Terry era, it appears Rudiger could now be the versatile defender Antonio Conte looks to in order to provide options in his favoured formation.
Rudiger was linked with a move to Arsenal in 2014, and fuelled speculation by admitting his “heart beats for Arsenal”, according to the Express.
The defender may still harbour affections for the Gunners, too, having named compatriot and Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil in his top five players of all time.Soccer Accumulator Bonus
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