Here’s why Antonio Rudiger is Real Madrid’s preferred defensive option

Chelsea, Antonio Rudiger (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Chelsea, Antonio Rudiger (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images) /

Antonio Rudiger has been linked with a move to Real Madrid for a while now. The highly reliable Mario Cortegana of GOAL has reported that the German defender is not interested in extending his stay at Chelsea, with both parties unable to reach an agreement regarding his wages. Other top clubs like Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have kept an eye on Rudiger’s contract situation, as the player will become a free agent next summer.

The reason behind Rudiger wanting to leave Chelsea is obvious. He expects to be paid up to 12 million euros a year. He has often talked about how he is happy in London, and Chelsea has offered him around 8 million euros per year, having recognised that he is an important player. But Rudiger isn’t convinced with their offer, as he would be earning less than what a few second-choice players would be earning.

At Real Madrid, he would earn the wages he demands and he will also have the respect he wants. Florentino Perez isn’t very stingy while negotiating the contractual details with a new signing, in contrast to his manner of negotiation with existing players, so Rudiger’s entourage might not find it very difficult to have their demands fulfilled at Real Madrid.

There will be competition from PSG, who are waiting for an opportunity to seek revenge from Real Madrid after the Mbappe saga. But the Spanish club has the special pull to attract players, so the German’s signing wouldn’t be a difficult one if both parties want each other. And Rudiger would have lesser competition at Real Madrid, when compared to PSG who have Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos and of course, Sergio Ramos.

But why do Real Madrid have Antonio Rudiger as their preferred option, when there are so many younger options in the transfer market? Let’s check it out.

Chelsea, Antonio Rudiger
Chelsea, Antonio Rudiger (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images) /

Why do Real Madrid prefer Rudiger to the rest?

I think Real Madrid identifying Rudiger as their primary defensive target has more to do with Rudiger’s price tag, than Rudiger’s stature as a player. With all due respect to Antonio Rudiger, who is a fantastic defender, there are better long-term options available in the market. Agreed that the German has been playing at an extraordinary level since the last year or so, but Real Madrid’s interest in him might be down to the fact that he would be a free agent next summer.

The club has realised that there is a need to strengthen the defence, looking at the overall performance and lack of depth in the department. Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, the clubs two starting centre-backs left the club last summer, and both the vacant spots were filled by David Alaba and Jesus Vallejo. Alaba has been a quality addition to the side, but there are still some concerns regarding the quality and the depth, which might become clearer in the case of an injury crisis.

Apparently, the club is looking to strengthen all the three departments of attack, midfield and defence. When Real Madrid look to sign players, they will always aim for top-class players. But I’m unsure if the club will have enough money to focus on the three departments equally, given the club’s intentions of having a huge summer transfer market. Even Ancelotti has confirmed that President Perez wants to make the next summer a memorable one.

It is an open secret that Real Madrid has been waiting to sign a star attacker for a long time. Operation Mbappe might be finally coming to an end as the club are looking to sign him as a free agent next summer. Los Blancos are also eyeing another generational talent in Erling Haaland, with Madrid being the Norwegian’s preferred destination, as per reports.

Haaland won’t come cheap, as there might be a bidding war for the Dortmund striker. And with Mino Raiola being his agent, we can expect a bigger amount to be spent on bonuses. Mbappe might come for free, but free agents are only without cost in the sense of a transfer fee, as a lot of money would be spent on bonuses. This means that a lot of money would have to be spent on attack alone, while the club is still recovering from the pandemic.

There will be departures as well, but there aren’t many players in the team whose sales can generate a lot of money, with three other players leaving as free agents. After the pandemic, the club can’t have a transfer window like that of the 2019 summer, where over 300 million was spent. There would look to make smart investments, and cut the cost as much as possible.

In Rudiger, the club would have a solid defender who would come for free. As I mentioned above, free agents don’t come for free these days, but the overall money spent would be definitely lesser than the amount that could be spent on signing a star name like Kounde or De Ligt. There are many more reasons which make Rudiger a feasible and fantastic signing.

The club needs to be wary of some points before signing him

There’s no denying that Real Madrid needs to strengthen their defence, which has been an area of concern. The defensive problem might arise due to the ultra attacking tactics of Ancelotti, but it is never a bad idea to improve the personnel. And Real Madrid can also afford the 12 million wages Rudiger wants, but is it necessary at the moment?

The club’s current starting centre-backs, David Alaba and Eder MIlitao have been excellent individually this season. Both of them have been very consistent so far this season. But if we sign Rudiger, it would mean that one of them should be dropped for him. The experienced Alaba, who’s another player on high wages, wouldn’t be dropped, but would a long term option in Militao, a player who’s expected to lead the backline for many more years, be dropped?

We also can’t assume that a player who will be paid 12 million euros per year would be a third choice centre-back. And there are some doubts among the fanbase regarding Rudiger’s ability to play in a back four. From what I’ve seen, he’s a decent defender in a back four, but he is even better in a back three. But what matters here is what the manager and the club’s recruitment team think of him.

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I would be happy to see a player like Rudiger at Real Madrid, but I also feel that the club needs to answer all the above questions, before signing the German or else they will realise the problems, if any, after the signing is done.