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Antonio Rudiger has been one of Chelsea's star performers this season after helping Thomas Tuchel's men surge to the top of the table, but he is still waiting to sign a new contract at Stamford Bridge.
The Germany international has been praised by Virgil van Dijk for his role in the Blues' recent success, but according to The Athletic, negotiations over a new deal have stalled.
Rudiger's preference is to remain in west London, but the 28-year-old and his representatives were reportedly underwhelmed by the club's initial offer.
BACK ON TRACK :punch::blue_heart: Crucial W before the int. break. #Hustle #AlwaysBelieve pic.twitter.com/sXCb59Mn4V
- Antonio Rüdiger (@ToniRuediger) October 2, 2021
If an agreement is not reached by January, he will be able to sign a pre-contract with another club, enabling him to leave on a free transfer the following summer - Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are among those interested.
Rudiger understands the significance of his next move, but hopes to secure an agreement with Chelsea, after a quote resurfaced from a recent interview with Sky Germany.
"For me, this will now be the most important decision of my professional career. I haven't spoken to any other club than Chelsea."
Give Rudiger the £200k a week, unreal defender
- Conn (@ConnCFC) October 2, 2021
The German's importance to Chelsea has been demonstrated after appearing in all seven of their Premier League games to date and scoring in the 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on 19th September.
He, along with Thiago Silva have been crucial in the Blues' improved defensive solidity since Tuchel's appointment as head coach, with the duo playing a prominent role in the club's second Champions League triumph last season.
Van Dijk led the plaudits for his rival and ranks him alongside defensive partner, Silva among the best centre-backs in the game.
"There's so many good defenders out there. The old guys Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, Gerard Pique. The game has evolved and defending is different," he told Sky Sports.
"If you look at Laporte and Rudiger. I think he had a fantastic season last year and the way he came back from a knee injury, I have even more respect for him now."
Words by James Hilsum.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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