Despite Real Madrid’s semifinal qualification, the team’s defensive issues continue to be a concern and have reignited the discussions about reinforcing the defense. A defender that had been previously mentioned is Antonio Rudiger, whose contract with Chelsea concludes after this season.
However, after his incredible performance in the return leg, Real Madrid might actually need to consider the possibility of signing him with the team’s lack of defensive depth and height. Although the defense has been solid, it has occasionally struggled on set plays due to the lack of height in the squad. This was seen in the return leg against Chelsea, which saw Rudiger score precisely off a set play.
However, signing free agent players is always a complicated matter as they always request high wages and hefty incentives. With all this, should the club sign Antonio Rudiger, and would he actually make the team better? Here are the pros and cons of pursuing Antonio Rudiger.
- Elite free agent signing
Although free agents are more complicated to sign than they seem, it still is a much simpler process. There would not be a transfer fee involved and the club would only need to negotiate with the player’s representatives. Although there are certain bonuses his agent will request, it would still be a bargain for an elite defender who has played at the very highest level and is a regular starter with the German national team.
- Fits a major need
As previously mentioned, the team has on occasion struggled defensively during the season, especially on set plays. The addition of Antonio Rudiger would fit an important need for the squad, which is height and depth. Although Nacho is always reliable, his height is a serious disadvantage on set plays. Meanwhile, Vallejo barely gets any opportunities to play, which makes it difficult for him to develop. This would bring reliability and calmness as the team would have more options in defense in case of injuries.
- Would allow Real Madrid to play different formations
Additionally, the signing of Antonio Rudiger would allow Real Madrid to play in different formations. They would probably continue with a line of four defenders, but could also make the switch to playing three in defense. Along with this, it would give the squad some ‘emergency’ options in case there are injuries at crucial moments to the fullbacks as Alaba and Rudiger can play on either side.
- Uncertain which system is best for him
Although he has been arguably Chelsea’s best defender, it has been thought this is due to the team’s formation of three defenders that has allowed him to flourish into the player he has become. While playing with three center backs, defenders stay more in position, do not need to push high, and have additional assistance with multiple holding midfielders, which provide them with vital protection. If this is the case and the team continues to play with four defenders, then it must seriously be evaluated whether signing him is the correct option.
- High wages could be an issue if he underperforms
As mentioned with free agents, they can be a challenge as they always request high wages and incentives. However, even if Real Madrid sign Antonio Rudiger, there is no guarantee he will perform at his highest level and be successful. In which case, it would be difficult to transfer him as nobody will surely offer him the wages he would be on, and there are already several examples on this current team of players who are underperforming, but the club cannot get rid of because of their high wages. If that happens and he does not regain his best form, the only other thing the club can do is hope there are some teams that would be interested in taking him on loan and be willing to spit his wages until his contract conclude.
- Would end the possibility of signing other top defenders
Whether Antonio Rudiger is successful or not, it could also jeopardize the possibility of signing other elite defenders who are as talented and can have a longer future with the team. For example, Ronald Araujo’s contract concludes with Barcelona after next season, with a renewal agreement still not being reached and reports already mentioning that Real Madrid are monitoring the situation. A signing that would not just strengthen the team, but also weaken and strike a blow to Barcelona.
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However, even if he does not sign, there will still be some important defenders after next season who will be entering the last year of their contract, such as Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Pau Torres (Villarreal), and Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus). Meaning it would be much easier to negotiate with their clubs a reasonable transfer fee if they do not renew.