Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has reportedly emerged as Real Madrid’s priority target for next summer as Los Blancos look to bolster their defensive options.

According to Spanish outlet ABC, the 13-time European Cup winners believe Rudiger is the ideal candidate to fill the void left by the departures of Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos and have made him their ‘No 1 priority’ for next year.

Real Madrid bid farewell to Ramos and Varane over the summer, with the former joining Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer and the latter moving to Manchester United for £36 million.

Together, Ramos and Varane – who respectively spent 16 and 10 seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu – won four Champions Leagues and three LaLiga titles and their departure has left a huge gap in the heart of Real’s back four.

Real are top of LaLiga alongside city rivals Atletico and Real Sociedad but have already conceded 10 goals in eight games.

A £31.5 million signing from Roma in 2017, Rudiger has played 159 games for Chelsea in all competition and established himself as a key figure in Thomas Tuchel’s team after his compatriot replaced Frank Lampard in the Stamford Bridge dugout in January last year.

The 28-year-old, who has won 47 caps for Germany, was instrumental in the Blues’ Champions League triumph last season and has hit the ground running this year.

However, there are growing concerns in West London that he could leave the club on a free transfer next summer when his contract expires.

Negotiations between the defender – who has also won two FA Cups, the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup since moving to the Premier League – and Chelsea have stalled.

According to the report, Rudiger fits the mould of players in their prime and coming to the end of their contract that Real are actively pursuing, after signing David Alaba on a free transfer from Bayern Munich in the summer.

Rudiger, who is away with Germany on international duty, was asked earlier this week to address rumours suggesting he was also on Bayern Munich’s radar.

The 28-year-old said he was ‘honoured’ to be linked with the Bavarian giants but remained committed to Chelsea.

‘Of course (Bayern’s interest) honours me and proves that I’ve been doing things right,’ he said. ‘But I don’t let myself be distracted.

‘I have an obligation to my club to perform well. I have to prove myself every game and not let myself be distracted by rumours. I make my decisions for myself. They don’t depend on anyone. I feel good where I am.’


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