Real Madrid would be wise to target free agent defender in 2022

Real Madrid are going to have to sign a central defender sooner or later given the departures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane in recent months.

Heading into the new campaign, Los Merengues only have David Alaba, Eder Militao and Nacho Fernandez as their reliable central defenders. Jesus Vallejo is the fourth choice for the time being, but the club wants to part ways with him and even if he stays, there is little to write home about his qualities from the two seasons he spent at Real Madrid between 2017 and 2019.

According to Sky Sports, Real Madrid are considering a free transfer for Antonio Rudiger next summer. The Germany defender is in the last year of his contract at the Stamford Bridge and will be considering all the potential options he has before deciding if his future continues in west London or will be swinging towards another league in Europe.

Antonio Rudiger could be a superb free agent signing for Real Madrid

Rudiger had fallen out of favour with Frank Lampard, but under Thomas Tuchel, he has been as good as a central defender can be. A lovely physical and aerial presence, Rudiger would do well in La Liga. His ball-playing skills are not as good as Sergio Ramos had, but it is very difficult to even find a player who can compare to the former captain’s skillsets.

For free, he is a steal especially because Rudiger will be only 29 years old next year and be in his prime years. Needless to say, he is also an experienced campaigner in Europe and has a host of trophies to his name. A Champions League and Europa League medal apiece are right at the top of his repertoire, whereas his experience in two of the world’s finest leagues are an asset too.

His development since leaving Roma for Chelsea has been great. Under Antonio Conte, he became a physically astute player and his technical side of the game has only improved under Tuchel. Madrid don’t have a defender of great physique as Alaba, Militao and Nacho do not compare to the imposing central defenders Ramos and Varane were. For teams that play on the counter-attack in the Spanish top-flight, such players are handy to have and Rudiger fits that bill very well.

In addition to being an absolutely rock-solid presence in the heart of the backline, Rudiger is also an asset from set pieces and can chip in with the occasional goals. From the current set of Madrid’s central defenders, only Alaba possesses scoring characteristics, and Militao, as well as Nacho, have not been able to contribute on a respectable wavelength in the final third, although that’s not the primary nature of their job, in all fairness.

While Rudiger’s quality makes him an ideal signing which Ancelotti would love for the club to make, the board’s decision will be the final exclamation point. With the likes of Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Jules Kounde, and Pau Torres, all linked to the Santiago Bernabeu, moves for numerous players are on the cards next season after the wage burdens of Marcelo, Isco, and Gareth Bale are cleared out following the end of the 2021/22 season. Florentino Perez’s propensity to spend on younger options could see Madrid entirely pass on Rudiger’s signing.

Do you think Madrid must sign him for free next year?