Merson believes Chelsea star is ‘definitely leaving’ in 2022

Ex-Arsenal man Paul Merson believes Chelsea defender is “definitely leaving” the Premier League club next year.

After successful spells at Stuttgart and Roma, Rudiger joined Chelsea in 2017.

The Blues splashed out just short of £30m to bring the defender to the Premier League.

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Rudiger’s time at Chelsea has been up and down but he has played 166 times for them since the start of the 2017/18 campaign.

The Germany international was in and out of the team under Frank Lampard but he has been heavily relied upon by Thomas Tuchel.

The 28-year-old has been in impressive form this term as the Blues sit top of the Premier League.

His future at Chelsea is in doubt as his contract is due to expire at the end of the 2021/22 campaign. It was reported last week that he has “no intention” of signing a new deal.

In his column for the Daily Star, Merson suggested that there is “no chance” Rudiger stays at Chelsea:

“Chelsea are going to miss Antonio Rudiger when he goes because it will take £60-70m to replace him,” Merson said.

“Rudiger is definitely leaving. If he wanted to sign a new contract he would have done it by now. There’s no chance he stays now.

“But it’s not Thomas Tuchel’s fault. I think he made his mind up to go when Frank Lampard had him out of the team.

“And even though he’s been phenomenal since Tuchel brought him back in, and they won the Champions League, Rudiger hasn’t forgotten.

“Teams will be queuing round the block now to sign him, and someone will pay him a lorryload of money to join them.

“He’s been one of Chelsea’s two best players all season for me and he won’t be easy to replace – but Tuchel should already be thinking about who to go for.

“There just aren’t many world class centre backs around any more, and the ones who are will cost a small fortune.

“That’s why I don’t understand it when clubs let a player run down their contract like this. It makes no sense at all and it does my head in.”

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