Five things you didn't know about Chelsea target Antonio Rudiger

Sport360 staff 19:32 30/06/2017
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Antonio Rudiger.

Chelsea are in talks with Roma defender Antonio Rudiger for a fee of around £30 million.

The Blues have tracked him for nearly three years and the 23-year-old is set to put pen to paper on a deal at Stamford Bridge after meeting his agent in London this weekend.

The German international can play in the centre and to the right side of the back three, which bolsters Antonio Conte’s defensive options ahead of the new campaign.

Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Rudiger.

EARLY LIFE IN BERLIN

Born to a German father and Seirra Leonean mother, Rudiger grew up in Berlin where he honed his skills on the concrete pitches of the capital.

During his early years, Rudiger lined up for Hertha Zehlendorf as a 13-year-old before signing for Borussia Dortmund in 2008.

FIRST CAME THROUGH THE RANKS AT STUTTGART

He began his professional career at Borussia Dortmund before signing for VfB Struttgart in 2011, where he made 80 appearances over four seasons.

His tackling and voracious work-rate cemented his status as one of Germany’s brightest young talents, with Joachim Low likening him to Bayern Munich star Jerome Boateng.

Rudiger made 66 Bundesliga appearances at Stuttgart.

Rudiger made 66 Bundesliga appearances at Stuttgart.

HE WAS PREVIOUSLY LINKED WITH CHELSEA

Jose Mourinho earmarked Rudiger as a potential long term replacement for John Terry in 2015, but he went on to sign for Roma on loan that summer.

Still, even when Conte took over the reins at Stamford Bridge he continued to express an interest in landing his signature.

Widely recognised one of the best defenders in Europe, Rudiger has made it clear his dream is to play in the Premier League one day.

With the Blues struggling to sign defensive targets Leonardo Bonucci and Virgil van Dijk, it looks likely that he could put pen to paper on a deal for Conte’s side this transfer window.

DISCIPLINE AND INJURY PROBLEMS

Discipline has been an issue for the German, racking up several yellow and red cards throughout his career so far.

During the 2016-17 season alone, he collected two red cards and nine yellow cards in 40 appearances.

Injuries haven’t helped his progress either, with three major knee surgeries early on in his career, and two surgeries on his meniscus in 2014 and 2015.

Antonio has been a totemic presence since joining Roma.

Antonio has been a totemic presence since joining Roma.

CITES BOATENG AND HUMMELS AMONG HIS IDOLS

While he cuts an imposing presence himself for club and country, Rudiger cites Bayern Munch stars Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels among his idols on the pitch.

He also hails his half-brother and former Bundesliga player Sahr Senesie as one of his key motivators in football and life.

The pair shared a flat during their time at Stuttgart, before Sahr retired from the game to pursue a career in sports agency – where he now represents Rudiger.

Rudiger competes for a ball with Boateng at training.

Rudiger competes for the ball with Boateng at Germany training.

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