June 6, 2023

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 12: Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea celebrates 0-2 during the UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid v Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 12, 2022 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Chelsea is set to be sold in the coming weeks with the new owner hopeful of completing the takeover by the end of May. It’s been an emotionally draining process thus far for all involved. Luckily, there looks to be a light at the end of the tunnel. The Raine Group’s shortlist is down to three preferred bidders in the Todd Boehly consortium, Sir Martin Broughton’s group and Stephen Pagliuca. The Ricketts family surprisingly dropped out of the race recently, resulting in a collective exhale from supporters across the globe.

Regardless of who becomes the Blues’ next owner, one thing is certain: they have massive shoes to fill. Roman Abramovich has guided this club into the upper echelons of world football during his last two decades as the owner. The Russian oligarch’s hefty investment has seen Chelsea win every trophy available to it during that time. It goes without saying that Abramovich’s successor will want to make a strong first impression in the coming months. There is no better way to do so than locking up one of the Blues’ pending free agents to with a new long-term contract.

Chelsea’s new owner should make re-signing Antonio Rudiger a priority

Antonio Rudiger’s contract extension should be priority No. 1 upon the completion of the takeover at Chelsea. Be it Marina Granovskaia or a new owner, the Blues need to get the German’s representatives to the negotiating table as soon as possible. The 29-year-old has been immense and he’s hardly put a foot wrong since Thomas Tuchel took over as manager in west London 15 months ago. Wednesday’s meltdown against Arsenal only served as a reminder of just how important Rudiger is to an otherwise relatively average defensive unit.

Andreas Christensen is already on his way out this summer as he departs on a free transfer to Barcelona. Cesar Azpilicueta could be next as he’s flirted with the Catalan club, despite triggering a one-year extension in his contract. A potential Rudiger exit would leave Chelsea with at least three holes to fill at the back. This would be an expensive project for any club owner on the planet, much less a new group of investors who are expected to spend north of £3 billion to purchase the club. The Blues would be much better off simply paying Rudiger £200,000+ per week for the next three or four seasons as it would save the club from having to pay transfer fees on top of wages. Jorginho and N’Golo Kante’s rumored potential exits and a midfield overhaul only further complicate matters in a few months’ time.

Not only would re-signing Rudiger save Chelsea a fair bit of money in the grand scheme of things, it’d also be a clear indication by the new ownership group that Tuchel will be backed. The German manager has won three major trophies (UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup) during his time with the club. He’s also made two FA Cup finals (one pending trophy) and a Carabao Cup final during that period. Tuchel is clearly the man to lead the club forward, the new owners need to make retaining him for the long-term a priority, as well. The manager is clearly very fond of his compatriot, so the move would go a long way in getting that relationship started off on the right foot.

Lastly, many supporters are skeptical about the prospect of American ownership. There is a 66% chance that the next head honcho in SW6 will be from the United States (Boehly or Pagliuca), so there will be some skepticism due to the spending history—or lack thereof—from other owners in the English top flight. Stepping up and retaining Rudiger would be a statement of intent that the new ownership will not allow the quality at Chelsea to drop. The Blues have built a winning culture over the last two decades, one that must remain through this transition. Rudiger is a key part of the current squad and hopefully he will be treated as such once this process is complete.

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