Man United emerge as surprise candidates to sign Chelsea fan-favourite

Chelsea is enduring somewhat of a contract crisis. Four of Thomas Tuchel’s senior defenders, including Antonio Rudiger, will be out of contract at the end of the season and that has reportedly alerted several of Europe’s biggest clubs.

That’s according to a recent report from Sky Sports Germany, who claims Rudiger is being targetted by Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris-Saint Germain and surprisingly, now Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United.

Rudiger, 28, first joined the Blues in 2017 following a £31.5m move from Italian side Roma.

Despite taking some time to settle in, the Germany international has grown to become one of the club’s most important defensive players.

Read more: Man United attacker expected to depart in January transfer window

The arrival of Tuchel earlier this year saw Rudiger reinvent himself as he transformed from a fringe player to a virtually nailed on starter, week in, week out.

Antonio Rudiger in action for Chelsea.

Having played an integral role over the last 18-months, Rudiger’s contributions saw him lift last season’s Champions League.

However, despite being one of the club’s most popular players, especially with the Blues’ fanbase, the player’s contractual situation has now seen his long-term future cast into major doubt.

Although there was previous hope the 28-year-old would sign a contract extension, with every passing day, it looks increasingly more likely he will depart the club, for free, at the end of the current season.

Up until now, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid had been viewed as the red-hot favourites to land Rudiger, however, these latest reports suggest that the race to sign the centre-back is in fact a lot closer.

Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva are among the other Chelsea players also out of contract at the end of the season.

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