According to a report from The Athletic (also covering Chelsea’s other expiring defenders in Christensen, Azpilicueta, and Silva), Liverpool FC are keeping tabs on Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger. The 28 year-old’s contract expires in the summer, and is unlikely to put pen to paper to a new deal at Stamford Bridge.
The point of contention between the two sides is of course, salary. Rüdiger reportedly wants £200,000 a week – a substantial rise on his current wages. Eurosport is reporting that City, Liverpool and Tottenham are interested.
The obvious current reason, is that Liverpool already have five centre-backs under contract. A report about Joe Gomez being frustrated by his minutes this season, mainly due to concerns about making England’s World Cup squad, has also been making the rounds. Still, it feels iffy. Gomez has demonstrated his quality before, and he and Matip have traded the starting centre-back role back and forth during their time here depending on form and availability. It seems likely that Big Joe will get minutes eventually. Furthermore, replacing 24 year-old Joe Gomez with 28 year-old and more expensive Antonio Rüdiger makes no fiscal sense.
Other footballing reasons also add to the overall unlikeliness of this rumour. Previously having mysteriously been in Frank Lampard’s doghouse, Rüdiger has been in the form of his life since Thomas Tuchel took over and implemented a back three. The system has been a fit for the German, who frequently roams and steps out to stop danger. Fitting him back into a back four could be a tricky proposition.