Manchester City v Chelsea: Match in pictures
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Chelsea are facing a battle to keep Antonio Rudiger at the club with the star defender tipped to leave Stamford Bridge and sign a mega-money deal overseas. Rudiger is coming to the end of his contract in west London and is refusing to put pen-to-paper on the extension offers Chelsea have made him so far.
Chelsea were shipping goals last season under previous manager Frank Lampard. And Rudiger couldn’t even get in the team as he was regularly overlooked by the former England midfielder.
But following Lampard’s sacking, the player was thrust into the starting line-up by Thomas Tuchel and has been a revelation ever since.
The Germany international was an ever-present under his compatriot during their run to Champions League glory last season.
He was also a regular in the Premier League as the Blues cemented a top-four finish.
And this season Rudiger has starred for his team once again, with Chelsea boasting the third-best defensive record in the top-flight.
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But the centre-back’s future is up in the air, with a string of European big-hitters keen to snap him up in the summer when he can walk away for nothing.
The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus have all been linked with the 28-year-old. And he could soon have his pick of the top clubs.
But former Chelsea midfielder Gus Poyet – who won the FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup at Stamford Bridge – believes the Blues can keep hold of Rudiger if they can win the Premier League, keep Tuchel and offer the defender a contract he can’t refuse.
“Maybe we’ll get to the end of season, Chelsea winning the league and he maybe thinks ‘I should stay here with this coach,’ playing with a big contract,” Poyet told bettingexpert.
“As we say in Spanish, he’s going to have plenty of girlfriends – he’s going to be able to choose.
“He’s in a situation where he is going to have plenty of opportunities and he will decide with his family what’s best for him.
“I think he has had bad times and good times, so that will influence his decision.
“He had a bad time under Frank Lampard not playing and now a very good time under Tuchel, so why not stay?
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“I like when you know the player. You know the character and the reaction. You know what he is going to give you.
“I think it’s very personal. When I was little in South America, it was all about Real Madrid.
“The best team in the world was Real Madrid. Then obviously we had Barcelona with [Pep] Guardiola that everybody loved, so Barcelona. Then the English teams.”
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