After months of speculation surrounding the future of Antonio Rudiger, Chelsea now knows that with the German making his decision to leave, it is almost a certainty a new defender will be signed in the upcoming window.
Since Thomas Tuchel confirmed the reports of Rudiger’s decision after the win over West Ham, a flurry of names have expectedly been linked to Stamford Bridge. Some already known, like Jules Kounde and Jose Gimenez, have been linked for some time, whilst newer faces such as RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol are rumouredly high on Tuchel’s wishlist.
One other name that has been added is Villarreal’s, Pau Torres. The 25-year-old Spanish defender was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United last summer, and it is believed that both United and Chelsea are admirers of the left-footed player.
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With a rumoured £50m release clause coming into effect this summer according to Fabrizio Romano, it is little surprise a host of Europe’s top clubs are spotting a potential opportunity to grab one of the continent’s most highly-rated defenders before his price potentially skyrockets to ridiculous numbers.
But when watching Torres in the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, there were some wider concerns that presented an issue if he was to become the Blues’ main defensive target under new ownership. As @CFCCentral3, a tactical analysis account focusing on Chelsea, noted, Torres does have some good attributes but does not fit the profile of something able to replicate Rudiger’s intensity.
As I flippantly thought after reading this tweet, so Andreas Christensen is without the Champions League medal. For all of Christensen’s improvement under Tuchel, his limitations when tasked with a more physical battle have always been in question throughout his Chelsea career.
When the game is played on the floor, the Dane generally has excelled, when it has become more direct and scrappy, his flaws have come to the fore. Those have been shielded by being utilised in the middle of a back-three with Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, or on occasions Thiago Silva, with Christensen shifting to the right.
The concern for any defender coming from La Liga into the Premier League is how they will adapt to its more physical demands. Aymeric Laporte is probably the standout example of a player who did adapt well at Manchester City. However, there have been examples of defenders being startled and overwhelmed by it.
Torres might work and grow around more physical and commanding peers, but without that assistance, Chelsea might run into a less combative and aggressive defence that Rudiger’s influence majorly helped to form under Tuchel.
It will be hard to exactly replace Rudiger’s unique character and traits that made him a beloved figure among the fanbase, but what made his initial deal from Roma always intriguing was his signs of aggression in Serie A and on an international stage with Germany. Chelsea are in the unfortunate position of having to replace a talismanic figure quickly whilst also having the small matter of a change in ownership.
Source by Football London