Football News

Ashley Cole: Chelsea cannot afford to lose Antonio Rudiger on a free this summer, he can do everything

By Ben Green

Published: 11:16, 13 January 2022

Former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole thinks losing Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer this summer would be detrimental to the club.

The 28-year-old Berliner has been an integral part of Thomas Tuchel’s defence and recently starred as the club booked their ticket to the League Cup final.

The Blues beat London rivals Tottenham 1-0 in their semi-final second leg on Wednesday night, with Rudiger getting the only goal of the game to inflict a 3-0 aggregate defeat on Antonio Conte’s side.

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Despite his impressive form, there is a huge concern emanating from Stamford Bridge regarding Rudiger’s future, with the centre-back’s contract expiring at the end of the season and no indication, as of yet, that he will extend his deal.

The Germany international is also free to sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs now that he has entered the final six months of his contract, but Chelsea legend Cole believes the club must do everything in their power to keep him in west London.

Speaking on Sky Sports after the match, Cole said: “Rudiger was brilliant. You can’t lose top, top key players in this dressing room. I think he can do everything.

“He can play out from the back, he can start attacks, he doesn’t like to be beat one v one, so he puts his body on the line.

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“He’s becoming a real leader. He’s temperamental at times.”

Jamie Redknapp chimed in with his own assessment, levelling criticism at Rudiger for his particular involvement in an incident with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg that nearly gifted Spurs a penalty, only for VAR to intervene and award a free-kick instead, but he agreed with Cole’s overall sentiment that Chelsea must keep him at the club.

Redknapp said: “His defending for the Hojbjerg incident was poor, that could have cost his team, but he’s a player they have to keep. I don’t know what the situation is.

“He’s going to be courted by all the top teams in world football.”