Antonio Rudiger drops hint on Chelsea future amid contract stand-off

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Chelsea ace Antonio Rudiger is out of contract in June and has dropped a huge hint about his future, with Manchester United reportedly interested in his services

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Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has confirmed he was considering leaving the club before Thomas Tuchel was appointed manager in January.

The 28-year-old’s confession may worry Blues fans, as he has just six months remaining on his existing deal.

It’s unclear whether Rudiger will put pen to paper on a new contract at this stage, with rumours suggesting Manchester United are interested in his services.

Speaking last month, Tuchel confirmed he wanted the 49-cap international to sign a contract extension at Stamford Bridge.

“Everybody wants him to stay, it’s clear and he knows it but sometimes there is a delay in these things and there is obviously a delay,” revealed the manager.

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And, speaking to Sky Sports, Rudiger revealed he was thinking about making a summer move before Tuchel revived his Chelsea career.

The centre-back played just four Premier League games under previous boss Frank Lampard last term before his compatriot’s arrival.

After Tuchel was hired by Chelsea, Rudiger missed just four more Premier League fixtures all season.

“Yeah [I was close to leaving], the way things were going for myself but also for the team,” revealed the player.

“But in the winter period I was not keen to leave, to be honest. It was more in the summer period where I wanted to leave.

“But Thomas Tuchel came and the rest is history. He opened a new door… he played a big role.”

Rudiger also claimed the transfer speculation that surrounded his future last winter didn’t have an impact on his game.

“To be honest, it was easy [to carry on playing],” he said. “There was also a lot of noise going on when the last coach was sacked.

“There were a lot of negative rumours and everything and stuff like this. And I kept on doing what I’m doing… I don’t get easily shaken.”

Rudiger’s comments suggest he’s in no rush to make a rash decision, but his relationship with Tuchel could be pivotal in whether he remains at Stamford Bridge.

According to transfer guru Christian Falk, the defender’s agent and brother Sahr Senesie is willing to negotiate with Man Utd and knows interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

Rudiger has played 166 games for Chelsea since joining the club from Roma in the summer of 2017, winning the Champions League, Europa League, Super Cup and FA Cup.

He’s has attracted many plaudits since Tuchel’s arrival, with Arsenal legend Martin Keown describing him as a “real driving force” for Chelsea.

“I love watching him play,” added Keown last weekend. “I was an aggressive defender myself, but I think this guy takes it to another level.

“When he gets the ball, he likes to run forward. The fans love him there because he makes things happen. Defensively, he’s so aggressive.

“He just shuts the door. So aggressive, strong, and he really leads from the back. “He’s a nuisance to play against and he’s been outstanding for them.”