Thomas Tuchel remains confident Antonio Rudiger will sign a new contract at Chelsea.
The Germany international’s deal expires at the end of the season, meaning he is already eligible to begin discussions with foreign clubs over a free transfer.
Rudiger has been strongly linked with numerous clubs, with Real Madrid seemingly chief among them.
The 28-year-old joined Chelsea from Roma in 2017, and while he has not always been first-choice having fallen out of favour under Frank Lampard, he has been a key figure for Tuchel.
All but four of his 19 Premier League appearances last season came after Tuchel’s appointment in January, while he has started 20 out of a possible 21 matches in 2021-22.
Some fans are growing uneasy given Chelsea are cutting it fine to tie him down to a new deal, though Tuchel seems relaxed.
“Things are clear. Talks are going on and we are confident,” Tuchel told reporters after Wednesday’s EFL Cup semi-final second-leg win over Spurs.
“Nothing has changed. Everybody knows the situation, let’s wait and see.
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— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 13, 2022
“We have things to offer and he is the player he is in a Chelsea shirt and a Chelsea environment. He knows that very well.”
Rudiger was impressive against Spurs, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win that takes Chelsea through to the final with a 3-0 aggregate success.
The centre-back’s three interceptions was not bettered by anyone else on the pitch, while he also had the most touches (109) and successful passes (94).
What made his effectiveness in possession even more impressive was the fact he attempted 36 passes in the opposition half (sixth-most on the pitch) and completed 97.2 per cent of them – among the players to attempt at least 10, only Jorginho (97.4 per cent) was more accurate.
He acknowledged this phase in his career is the best he has had.
“I am enjoying it,” he told Sky Sports.
“I think you have to see it about chapters, and I have enjoyed this chapter, I have enjoyed it so far. It is the best time of my career.”