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Glen Johnson on Antonio Rudiger’s Chelsea future: “You can’t let top players leave for free”

Glen Jonson believes it would be a big loss to Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel to lose Antonio Rudiger.
Glen Jonson believes it would be a big loss to Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel to lose Antonio Rudiger.

Around 10 months ago, Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger was facing a January transfer window unclear of his future after being left out frequently by former Blue’s boss Frank Lampard. Fast forward to now and Rudiger is a Champions League winner, thriving under his international compatriot Thomas Tuchel and has been one of the main catalysts behind his club currently sitting top of the Premier League.

With the German defender’s contract expiring this summer, his club are now sweating over the prospect of losing him on a free with Bayern Munich being linked with a swoop for the player. Former Chelsea full-back Glen Johnson has been speaking BettingOdds.com regarding Rudiger’s ongoing contract situation, potential defence replacements, Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin and why Liverpool is the most suitable destination for Jude Bellingham if he was to leave Borussia Dortmund.

Rio Ferdinand recently labelled Chelsea defender Antonio Rüdiger as the best centre-half, on current form, in the Premier League. He’s out of contract next summer, with Bayern Munich rumoured to swoop in. Do you also believe he’s the best current centre-half in the league and do you think it would be a monumental loss for Chelsea?

 

“It would be a loss. He’s clearly revamped his Chelsea career under Thomas Tuchel and when he’s playing the way he has been then he’s a great asset to Chelsea, so if he was to go on a free contract then he will be missed. To find great players in form is hard to come by as we know, but from a business perspective as well, you can’t let top players leave for free. If he’s their best defender or not, letting a player leave on a free never makes sense. Whilst he’s playing like this, they should lock him down in my opinion.”

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Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is peaking the interest of Chelsea and is rumoured to have a £128 million release clause in his contract. He has failed to nail down a permanent position in the Juventus starting XI during his time at the club, but is undoubtedly one of the brightest prospects in world football. Do you think he could be the ideal addition for Chelsea this summer if Antonio Rüdiger is to leave in the summer?

 

“I think he would be a good option, but not a £128million one! I’m not sure they’ll break the clause and do the transfer in that way.

“If he was that good he would be starting for Juventus. He’s got bundles of time on his side and is still developing and has great potential. But £130million is not potential is it?! He needs to turn up and be a superstar. If they could do a deal it would be a fantastic replacement for Rüdiger, if he was to leave, but not with those sort of numbers.”

 

Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin is a player linked with a move to either Chelsea or Liverpool. Regardless of what you make of these rumours, do you believe he has the capabilities to play for the Premier League’s biggest clubs?

“I’m not sure. He’s one of those players that you wouldn’t want to play against but if you were a big club then I’m not sure you’d want to be starting him every week. At Newcastle he can get away with one good performance every three games, but you wouldn’t be able to do that at Chelsea or Liverpool. You’d rather he put in consistent seven or eight out of ten performances every week and for me he doesn’t do that. He’s either a ten out of ten or a six out of ten. 

“In terms of the excitement he brings to the game, then on his day he’s good enough to play for anyone. For those very top teams though, you need to be able to perform consistently.”

 

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Liverpool are reportedly the frontrunners in the race to sign Borussia Dortmund’s England International Jude Bellingham. Chelsea as well as the two Manchester sides are also supposedly interested. Which side do you think would aid his progression best?

 

“I’d probably say Liverpool. Even though Liverpool do have superstar players, they also have a smaller squad and they don’t have those superstar players sitting on their bench banging the door down, so it’s easier to keep the squad happy.

“If Jude was to make the move to Liverpool then I believe they can nurture him better than his other suitors and will give him more time as that’s what he will need. If he was to go to Chelsea or Manchester City and didn’t perform straight away then the pressure would be immediately on him and he would be stepped aside and somebody else would come in and take his place. Liverpool’s smaller squad would help him in that sense.”

 

And finally, Watford may have moved typically quickly to try and stop the rot, but, right now, based on current form and results, which three teams do you expect to go down to the Championship this season?

“I’m going to go Norwich City, Watford, and it’s going to hurt me to say it but I think Newcastle are going to be there. They’re always flirting with it, aren’t they? They always seem to just do enough without them really investing. 

“With the fans, the manager and the owner, it just feels like everyone is pulling in different directions, so eventually their luck is going to run out. I hope they don’t, as a former Newcastle United fan, but I think they could be there.”

 

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