Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Blues player ratings
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Chelsea transfer chief Marina Granovskaia is facing a conundrum in defence, with one player seemingly unhappy at the prospect of another’s arrival. Antonio Rudiger still has not put pen to paper on a new contract at the Bridge amid rumours that the Blues will go back in for Jules Kounde when the transfer window reopens in January.
With a deal that expires in 2022, it is imperative that Chelsea and Rudiger come to an agreement if they are to avoid losing him for free.
Last month, the German’s comments on the matter were less than convincing, saying: “For now, talks have begun and we will see what time brings,” according to Goal.
Weeks down the line, various reports indicate that a deal is no closer to being struck.
The precariousness of Rudiger’s situation is understandable, given Granovskaia’s well-publicised pursuit of Sevilla star Kounde earlier this summer.
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A player of Rudiger’s calibre clearly does not want to be tied down to a new deal and then immediately consigned to the bench.
That could be the case if Kounde arrives, with ESPN reporting that the Blues will make another attempt to sign him in January if Sevilla lower their valuation to just over £40million.
Whether they would be receptive to such an offer is another question, representing a huge discount from the £68m release clause they demanded two weeks ago.
Sevilla are a tough club to deal with when it comes to Kounde, as demonstrated by Manchester City’s failed pursuit of the defender in 2020, but Chelsea seem determined to get their man.
From Rudiger’s perspective, therefore, holding off on signing a new deal would give him the freedom to leave at will if Kounde is eventually lured in.
The 28-year-old clearly feels as though he would be directly on the chopping block at the expense of Kounde, and he might be right considering the experience of Cesar Azpilicueta and excellent performances of Andreas Christensen in the centre of a back three.
Such reluctance to sign a new deal indicates that there is not enough room at Stamford Bridge for the pair of them.
Despite completing the signing of Saul Niguez on deadline day, however, Chelsea’s longstanding interest in midfield targets like Declan Rice could throw Rudiger a lifeline.
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If the 47-cap German international continues his solid performances in the Blues’ defence, he may persuade Granovskaia that the club’s money would be better spent in other positions.
Thus, it all comes back around to the big decision faced by Chelsea’s transfer chief.
Kounde is clearly a player coveted by those at Stamford Bridge, but his arrival would not just break the bank, it may just facilitate another valuable defender leaving the club for free.
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