Chelsea Sign Roma Defender Antonio Rudiger
Premier League champions Chelsea have marginally cushioned the blow of losing key target Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United by swooping for a new central defender. The Blues completed the signing of Germany international Antonio Rudiger on Sunday for an initial fee of £29m, penning a five-year deal.
Rudiger was on Antonio Conte’s list of key targets to secure this summer, also including Lukaku, Tiemoue Bakayoko of Monaco and Alex Sandro of Juventus. The initial £29m fee could rise to around £33m with potential add-ons.
The 24 year old began his career with VfB Stuttgart, following a three year stint with Borussia Dortmund’s youth academy. Following three years of regular Bundesliga football with Die Schwaben, Rudiger moved onto AS Roma in Italy, initially signing a one-year loan deal before signing permanently €9 million in May 2016.
He received his first Germany cap from Joachim Low back in 2014 after making 10 appearances for the under 21s and a further 24 caps in younger age groups. Just one week ago, Rudiger played part in Germany’s Confederations Cup success, operating in a crucial central defensive role in their 1-0 final win over Chile.
Chelsea’s technical director Michael Emenalo said: “Antonio is still young but is experienced at club and international level and possesses all the requisite attributes to thrive in the Premier League. He is a player of proven quality.”
Rudiger has been handed the number 2 shirt vacated by Branislav Ivanovic in January and he will have to be incredibly consistent to win the fans over as much as his predecessor did. Rudiger said: “When I heard of the offer of Chelsea I had to think about it and I realised that in life you never know if you’ll get a second chance. Not every player has the opportunity to join a huge club like this.”
Rudiger has made a name for himself in Germany and Italy for his tenacious tackling, bodacious bravery and lightning speed. His lofty stature combined with uncapped aggression and confidence on the ball make him a terrific prospect for Antonio Conte’s three at the back formation. Rudiger has also featured at right back, so Conte will also know that he has a versatile defender on board after letting Nathan Ake leave for Bournemouth.
Chelsea continued with the latest social media trend of filming an intricate video upon a deal being announced where a young Chelsea fan requests Rudiger on the back of his new club shirt. After the boy’s father recommends Eden Hazard or David Luiz instead, the shop assistants heads into the back stock room where Rudiger confirms “I am a Chelsea player now.” This particular video may go down in history as infamous!