Versatile Rudiger heading for Chelsea

Germany international will bolster Blues back line when he joins Caballero at the Bridge

LONDON • Chelsea have agreed a fee with Roma worth a potential €38 million (S$59.74 million) for Antonio Rudiger, with the Germany defender expected to fly to London this week to complete a medical examination.

Roma had been holding out for €45 million for a player they signed from Stuttgart last summer after he impressed on a season-long loan.

After rejecting Chelsea's opening bid of €35 million, Roma have accepted a package that means Chelsea pay an initial €33 million with an extra €5 million in bonus payments.

Rudiger, primarily a central defender who can play at right back, is expected to earn around €4 million a season.

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He is playing in the Confederations Cup in Russia, where Germany face Chile in today's final.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been searching for defensive reinforcements despite last season's Premier league title and identified the 24-year-old as his main target after discussions with the club's technical staff.

Conte had initially pushed the club to sign Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci or Southampton's Virgil van Dijk, while Nathan Ake has been sold to Bournemouth for £20 million (S$35.86 million).

Berlin-born Rudiger was also eligible to represent Sierra Leone - where his mother was born - but has since gone on to represent Germany at every age level from Under-18, noted Sky Sports.

The 1.90m-tall player is strong in the air and fast across the ground but a little clumsy on the ball.

He was linked with a move to Arsenal in 2014 and has named compatriot and Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil in his list of top five players of all time.

Chelsea are also set to conclude deals for the midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco and the left-back Alex Sandro from Juventus.

The arrival of Bakayoko could provide the trigger for Nemanja Matic to join Manchester United.

The Stamford Bridge club have also announced the signing of the goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who was out of contract following his spell at Manchester City.

The 35-year-old from Argentina will provide cover for Thibaut Courtois following Asmir Begovic's move to Bournemouth.

Chelsea have also agreed a deal to sign Exeter City defender Ethan Ampadu, with the champions in negotiations with the League Two club over a fee for the highly-rated 16-year-old.

Ampadu has attracted interest from other top-flight clubs including Manchester United and Arsenal, where his father - former West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City midfielder Kwame - is the U-18s manager.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 02, 2017, with the headline 'Versatile Rudiger heading for Chelsea'. Print Edition | Subscribe