Manchester United have joined the “transfer poker” game in an attempt to sign Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger, according to Sky Germany.
Rudiger has been one of the finest defenders on the planet this calendar year, but his contract is due to expire in the summer of 2022 and there is currently not thought to be any impending agreement over an extension.
That casts serious doubt over his future at Stamford Bridge, even if he remains a key figure under Thomas Tuchel. In less than two weeks’ time, Rudiger will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with any interested party.
One of those, as per Sky Germany, is Manchester United. Chelsea’s Premier League rivals are understood to have shown an interest in signing Rudiger on a free transfer.
The report claims that Ralf Rangnick’s men have joined a “transfer poker” game involving several of Europe’s biggest clubs, all of whom are keen on the idea of signing Rudiger on a Bosman.
Man United acquired Raphael Varane from Real Madrid over the summer transfer window, but Harry Maguire has been heavily criticised in recent months after continual sub-par performances in the back-line.
There may well be a need and/or desire in the Man United boardroom to recruit another centre-back, with Rudiger ticking virtually every box that you could possibly ask for, such is the strength of his credentials.
The Red Devils will face competition from Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and, of course, Chelsea, but United have much cash to play with as any other club on the planet.
It seems improbable at this point in time that Rudiger would leave Chelsea in favour of signing a contract with one of their Premier League rivals, but as we’ve learnt time and time again in this game, nothing’s impossible.
Two notable transfers between the clubs in the previous decade were Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic. Those deals required terms being agreed between Chelsea and Man United – this one wouldn’t.
Were Rudiger keen on the idea of moving to Old Trafford, he would be within his rights to negotiate an agreement behind Chelsea’s back. The Blues have lost all bargaining power by allowing his contract to run down to this point.
Whether Man United will be able to successfully take advantage in this “transfer poker” game remains to be seen, but there are nervy times on the horizon for Chelsea fans, who may be fearing that history is set to repeat itself.