Barcelona target this 27-year-old Chelsea star in January – A sensible move by Koeman?


Why Barcelona signing Antonio Rudiger would be a smart move

According to Dario Sport (h/t Daily Mail), Barcelona are in the market for a low-cost centre-back. Amongst the names being linked to the club, Antonio Rudiger has emerged as the most likely to join the Catalan side. Barcelona’s priority target Eric Garcia does not look like a possibility as Manchester City are refusing to lower their asking price from £13.5million.

Barcelona are also rumoured to be interested in a host of other centre-backs as Samuel Umtiti is being linked to a move away from Barcelona in the upcoming window. The Spanish side want competition in their backline which currently features Ronald Araujo, Clement Langlet and Gerard Pique. (h/t Daily Mail)

Antonio Rudiger
The 27-year-old Chelsea defender is linked with a move to Barcelona. (GETTY Images)

A move that would suit all parties

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Barcelona financially as the club’s debts increased to £735million during that time. The club asked their players to take up to 70% cut in their wages. Amidst the financial trouble, manager Ronald Koeman has not been allowed to spend lavishly.

The German’s contract expires in the summer of 2022 and Chelsea have been rumoured to be open to offers for the centre-back. With a club like Barcelona interested, Rudiger may be more willing to leave the Blues and Frank Lampard would do the German a huge favour by agreeing to a fee that may suit all parties.

The defender rejected advances from Seria A club AS Roma to stay at Chelsea and fight for a starting spot. (h/t Daily Mail) However, that has not gone according to the German’s plans. Despite featuring in 19 of Chelsea’s penultimate 22 league games last season, Rudiger has only played in 2 of Chelsea’s 13 matches this campaign. None of those starts has come in the Premier League. (h/t Transfermarkt)

Chelsea sign defender Rudiger from Roma - Reuters
Rudiger’s reunion with ex-club AS Roma did not materialize last summer. (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi Livepic)

Frank Lampard signed Malang Sarr and veteran centre-back Thiago Silva to strengthen his defence in the summer. The Chelsea manager has an array of centre-backs at his disposal to choose from.

While the Englishman has preferred the pairing of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma at the back, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori, and Cesar Azpilicueta have all featured at the back for the Blues at one point or the other.

Amongst the names mentioned above, Rudiger has made the least appearances. The German appears to be at the bottom of the pecking order and is seemingly expendable. Now 27, Rudiger would want regular appearances to strengthen his case for a place in the Germany squad for the upcoming UEFA European Championships.

While he will seemingly not get that at Chelsea, Barcelona’s shortage of options at the back means the German will be competing for starts there.

Chelsea have an abundance of centre-backs and will not necessarily miss Rudiger. After strengthening in all other positions on the pitch, Chelsea should look to bring a world-class defender in.

While Kurt Zouma is having a good season, Thiago Silva is 36 and is clearly a short-term addition. For Lampard, Rudiger does not seem to be the solution to that problem as he has not preferred to pick the German when he has had the opportunity to.

Antonio Rudiger breaks his silence amid Tottenham links after Chelsea win against Crystal Palace -
Rudiger would add quality and depth to Barcelona’s backline. (Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via GETTY Images)


Antonio Rudiger is out of favour at Chelsea, with Frank Lampard not preferring the German over his other centre-back options.

Barcelona have conceded just 10 goals in their 10 matches in the La Liga and Champions League this season. To continue that record and push for the title on both fronts, Koeman would need defensive reinforcements, especially with the congested fixture list which awaits the Catalan side.

Antonio Rudiger has shown time and again that he is a very able centre-back when given regular starts. Koeman and Barcelona’s defenders would benefit massively from the competition and options that a player of Rudiger’s quality would provide.

For Rudiger, any move away from Chelsea would mean more minutes. The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup winner with Germany would feel he deserves more than being a benchwarmer at Chelsea. Costing Chelsea £29million in the summer of 2017, the Blues would also not be losing a massive amount if they do sell him for any price lower than that.