Chelsea in race to sign Matthijs de Light as Rudiger replacement

Chelsea have entered the race to sign Juventus central defender Matthijs de Ligt as Thomas Tuchel looks to replace Antonio Rudiger.

The Blues need a new centre-back after Rudiger completed a move to La Liga giants Real Madrid and have been linked with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.

De Ligt is also of huge interest to Chelsea, according to talkSPORT, who say Tuchel could move for the Dutchman as he prepares to rebuild his defence.

Rudiger was a key component at Stamford Bridge for several seasons and Chelsea were desperate to prevent the German star from leaving.

But a move to the Bernabeu was confirmed last week and the London club are keen to secure a replacement as soon as possible, with the summer transfer window opening on Friday.

De Ligt emerged as one of the most highly-rated defenders in European football during his spell at Ajax and helped Erik ten Hag’s side win the Eredivisie and reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

He was expected to establish himself as a key player at the Allianz Stadium for many years after his move to the club in 2019, but he has somewhat underwhelmed for the Italian club.

Despite this, it will require a huge investment to poach De Ligt from Juventus as he has a £102m release clause and is under contract until the summer window of 2024.

But Chelsea are not the only team to express interest in the defender, with their Premier League rivals Manchester United also linked with a move since Ten Hag’s appointment as head coach.

De Ligt was asked about his future at Juventus on Sunday and he told Dutch outlet NOS: ‘Talks are currently being held and when the time comes, I will decide whether I will extend or whether I want to look further.

‘I always look at what is best for myself in terms of the sporting project. Fourth place in a row twice is not good enough, we will have to make steps in that direction.’

Last week, former Arsenal player Paul Merson said Rudiger would be a ‘massive miss’ for Chelsea next campaign and questioned whether Kounde was a good replacement.

‘Antonio Rudiger’s been absolutely outstanding for Chelsea. I can’t remember him having a bad game if I’m being honest,’ he told Sportskeeda.

‘He’s been consistently brilliant in the Premier League this season. Rudiger’s going to be a massive miss for Thomas Tuchel next season.

‘He’s going to be a hard one to replace, and I’m not sure if the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Jules Kounde can fill his boots. If there is a worry for Chelsea this year, it’s finding Rudiger’s replacement.’


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