Tottenham, Man City hold initial talks to sign commanding centre-back

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Tottenham and Manchester City are both reportedly in talks to sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who will be out on contract next summer.

Tottenham, Man City hold initial talks to sign commanding centre-back
© PA Images Thomas Tuchel greeting Chelsea centre-half Antonio Rudiger 2021

The 28-year-old German has become a key player for Thomas Tuchel and was instrumental in the Blues winning the Champions League last term. However, his contract runs out at the end of the season and so far negotiations over a new one have completely stalled.

That has led to a number of clubs showing an interest in the centre-back. Spurs, City, Juventus and PSG are said to lead the way, although Barcelona and Bayern Munich are also in the running.

As far as Chelsea’s negotiations go, Chelsea are believed to be willing to offer up to £150,000-a-week. However, Rudiger is holding out for a larger sum which may not be forthcoming.

And now Gianluca Di Marzio states that Nuno Espirito Santo and Pep Guardiola are primed to make their moves.

The transfer expert states that Germany star is close to joining a list of four clubs.

He said: “Rudiger is in talks with Juventus, Man City, Tottenham, and even PSG, who still need a defender. It’s difficult to see him signing a new contract. He will join one of the four teams mentioned.”

Tottenham are certainly in need of a high-class centre-back, with Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez way to inconsistent. Cristian Romero was the best defender in Italy last season but he is only on loan, while Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga are still inexperienced at the top level.

As for City, it’s hard to see where Rudiger fits in – with Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones the leading names and Nathan Ake a solid back-up.

Rudiger has played 160 games for Chelsea in all competitions so far. However, he admitted that he was close to leaving the Blues earlier in the year.

“I was close [to leaving]. There were really like two teams, maybe one team I was considering, that was PSG to be honest. There was [a] call also with Mourinho, but this is something at the end of the day that didn’t happen, and with Tuchel also, [but it] didn’t happen.”

As Man Utd struggle, can Spurs, Arsenal or Leicester gatecrash the Premier League’s top four?

Kepa future becomes clearer

Meanwhile, the future of Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga looks likely to be in Italy, but perhaps not in the destination that has been expected after news emerged of another club’s interest.

Kepa has lost his place as Chelsea’s number one and Edouard Mendy looks unlikely to relinquish it any time soon. It has prompted a dilemma for the Blues, who invested a world-record sum for a goalkeeper when signing the Spaniard in 2018.

He spent two seasons as their first choice, but has been firmly dislodged since Mendy’s arrival. Kepa has only played in three matches this season so far, keeping two clean sheets. At the age of 27, he will be wanting to find more regular gametime.

Tottenham, Man City hold initial talks to sign commanding centre-back
© Provided by Teamtalk

To do so, it appears he will have to leave Chelsea, even though they have him under contract until 2025. A few clubs are still interested in him, despite his loss of form. Even so, it seems impossible for Chelsea to recoup the fee they spent on him.

They will have to treat each offer as it comes – and the calls may be arriving from Italy.

Juve ready to rival Lazio for stopper

There have been plenty of rumours about a transfer for Kepa to Lazio in recent weeks. Such a move would reunite him with ex-Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, with whom he once had an infamous disagreement that has now been brushed under the carpet.

Lazio’s first-choice keeper at present is Pepe Reina, but the former Liverpool man is 39 years old and will be phased out at some point. Kepa could be a feasible replacement.

However, some obstacles are standing in the way of a deal. Furthermore, it has now emerged that a different Serie A side are keen on the signing of Kepa. According to Fichajes, Juventus “insist” upon signing him next summer.

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