Antonio Rudiger has a preference for his next destination if he does not sign a new contract with Chelsea, according to reports.
Rudiger’s future is a priority issue for Chelsea at present. His contract expires at the end of the season, leaving them vulnerable to losing him.
He has undergone a resurgence since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel, who is keen to keep him. But as things stand, the defender can walk away for nothing in 2022.
There has been plenty of interest in the Germany international as a result.
A recent report tallied up the list of clubs keen on him and the total was five. Among the contenders for his signature are Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur.
Turning 29 years old in March, Rudiger knows he is facing the most important decision of his career.
But he has denied any talks with clubs other than his current employers.Even so, reports in Europe are talking of his preference for his next step.
According to Marca, he has already decided not to renew his contract with Chelsea.
The Blues are only offering him a salary worth €6.5m per season, but he wants €10m.
Thus, he is on the search for his next club – and two names stand out in his mind.
Preferably, he would join either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid next.
A move to Bayern would mark a return to the Bundesliga in his native country, where he last played for Stuttgart until 2017.
Alternatively, joining Real would be a new challenge altogether for him, having never set foot in La Liga before. And that seems the likeliest solution at present.
Last week, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann refused to comment about any interest in Rudiger.
Director of sport Hasan Salihamidzic took things further, listing the several strong options already available to the Bundesliga champions in a hint that they do not need anyone else there.
Madrid, on the other hand, are looking for an additional reinforcement to their rearguard. They lost Sergio Ramos to PSG and Raphael Varane to Man Utd over the summer, only managing to bring in one replacement.
That was David Alaba, whom they acquired for free; now Marca are tipping them to repeat that strategy with Rudiger.
In an ideal world, Los Blancos may be looking for a younger option for the long-term.
But aware of their financial constraints, a deal for the Chelsea man may make the most economical sense.If the west London outfit cannot convince Rudiger to stay, they will have to think about how to replace him.