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Antonio Rudiger’s departure will start domino effect Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel desperately need

 

Chelsea’s weaknesses in defence continued as they dropped points against Brighton at home in a 1-1 draw on Wednesday evening. Trevoh Chalobah and Antonio Rudiger failed to stop substitute Danny Welbeck who equalised late in the second half.

But the team will have to move on quickly with a blockbuster fixture to start 2022 against Liverpool coming up at the weekend. With that, 2022 dawns and the January transfer window will open for business to commence.

Defenders will be high on the list for Marina Granovskaia in both of the next two transfer windows as the club finds itself in a situation where four members of their backline will be out of contract by next summer.

One of them seems increasingly unlikely to stay after failing to iron out a suitable wage offer to extend their contract and that’s Antonio Rudiger, who has been linked with numerous clubs in the rumour mill, including Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen will also see their contracts run out at the end of the season and while there has been a reported confidence over fresh terms for the Brazilian, until pen meets paper on a new deal, doubts will remain. But if the bumpy road of draws and losing the top spot in the league has proved anything – it’s that Chelsea need to freshen up their backline.

Rudiger’s departure may kickstart the domino to fall one by one and see the Chelsea defence get a dramatic revamp.

 

They need it too.

Speaking after the game, ex-Blue Gus Poyet said on Amazon Prime about Thomas Tuchel’s current defensive options, “Chelsea looked lost. It isn’t easy to analyse because this back five will not play again together.

“That is not the back five that you expect from Chelsea. They missed that strength today, and that’s why I think Welbeck scored the goal.”

There seems to be a disconnect at the back that is so drastic and clear to see at times. That extra run to get in front of the forward, a leap higher, or that body on the line defending that’s always been an automatic feature of a Chelsea defender just isn’t there.

We don’t know whether it’s the lack of desire, concentration lapses or what the future holds and the contract talks in the back of players’ minds. But it’s extraordinary to think the same players that were crucial for amounting clean sheets one after another look so different.

Maybe it’s time to come to terms with the fact that trying to hold on to some players won’t be enough. Rudiger’s departure could be the start of bringing in fresh blood in the backline, which will be the club’s core for defensive options for years to come.

Chelsea’s last big-money centre-back signing came in the form of Rudiger back in 2017. With his contract set to expire and the club yet to invest fully in a big signing in the area, this could be the perfect time for the club to go all out and strengthen that particular department.

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