The defender could have departed Stamford Bridge in the fall but opted to stay and has regained his place as a vital squad member
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger said he had offers from PSG and Tottenham in the fall, but insisted that now he is fighting to earn a new contract under Thomas Tuchel.
Frank Lampard dropped the Germany international down to fifth in the centre-back pecking order, which led to offers from Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham and Tuchel’s former club PSG.
There was further interest from Barcelona, Roma and AC Milan but ultimately, the Blues opted to keep their 28-year-old central defender. He rose up to third in the pecking order but only became a regular starter after Frank Lampard was sacked in January and replaced by Tuchel.
What was said?
Rudiger admitted that he had the option to depart Stamford Bridge but that he remained calm and didn’t push too hard to leave the club.
“Some things I saw coming, but I didn’t see that I wouldn’t be in the squad [under Lampard]. This I didn’t see coming. But in the end, I took it on the chin. Yes, I had really two main teams that maybe wanted me and that I was considering,” the defender said at a press conference.
“It was PSG, to be honest, and with Mourinho [at Tottenham]. But this is something that didn’t happen. With Tuchel, it didn’t happen. I was a bit upset because I knew that I wouldn’t often play in my situation.
“Then I had a talk with the ex-coach of Lampard and I was suddenly back in the team but on the bench. I had a couple of games and I worked my way back. In the last games of his reign, I was on the pitch. Now, things are going well for me and I am very happy about it.
“To be honest, though, I always felt good in the club. They treated me nicely, especially upstairs from the board. No one told me I should leave. Neither did Frank Lampard, the transfers I had didn’t happen. The loans didn’t happen, but no one told me at the club that I should leave either.”
Will he leave in the summer
Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta all have contracts that expire in June 2022. Meanwhile, Thiago Silva is on a one-year contract that expires in 2021 but there’s a mutual option for both parties to extend it until 2022.
Rudiger was unsure how contract talks might go ahead of another round of negotiations: “At the end of the day, everyone, me and the club know how much I like this club and everything, so it’s down to people who make these types of decisions, but, at the moment for me, it’s to concentrate on important matches and targets.
“The rest, I think I’m sure we will resolve it. I always say I love it here at Chelsea, so it will be my priority number one.”
Tuchel also gave his insights into the situation, with decisions to be made amid the club’s interest in new central defenders this summer.
“Of course we know, everybody knows about the situation of those three players,” the manager said. “All three players performed on a super high level, very reliable, this is the most important thing.
“We’ll take the decisions, then communicate them when taken. This is not a secret and it’s obvious that all three have performed outstandingly. Thiago is missing now for many weeks, unfortunately, which is too long, because we miss him.
“But Andreas and Toni have done a fantastic job so far, and we have to keep on going like this and the rest will be resolved.”