Antonio Rudiger is edging ever closer to a move away from Chelsea with initial talks suggesting he could earn as much as £400,000-a-week as a free agent, according to reports.
The Germany international is entering the final six months of his deal at Stamford Bridge and will be free to begin negotiating a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from next month onwards.
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Chelsea had hoped to persuade Rudiger – who has been in superb form ever since compatriot Thomas Tuchel took charge – to extend his stay, but are increasingly resigned to losing him.
The Blues’ last offer was believed to be worth around £140,000-a-week – a near 50% increase on his current salary – but Rudiger felt he deserved a much bigger salary on par with the club’s highest earners.
He was also conscious of the fact that this would likely be his last big pay day, and he appears to be right with a host of European giants queuing up to offer him the lucrative terms he is demanding.
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According to reports, tentative early talks have made it clear that Rudiger’s suitors are prepared to offer him as much as £400,000-a-week including bonuses and add-ons.
A contract of that size would put him on par with Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, who is currently the highest-paid defender in world football.
The likes of Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are all ready to battle it out to land the 28-year-old and feel he would cost around £70million in normal circumstances.
But given that he is available on a free transfer they are prepared to give in to his enormous salary demands and Chelsea will simply not be able to compete, with Rudiger now increasingly likely to leave the club.
Recent reports have suggested that Real Madrid are leading the chase for the German defender and he already has an ‘informal agreement’ to move to the Bernabeu.
Manchester United are also reported to be interested in signing Rudiger – as well as Tottenham – though Premier League clubs will have to wait until his contract with Chelsea has expired before making official contact, giving the upper hand to foreign clubs.
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