EPL: Chelsea player, Rudiger has made up his mind to leave Stamford Bridge – Paul Merson

 Arsenal legend, Paul Merson says he is convinced that German defender, Antonio Rudiger, who he described as Chelsea’s best player and a world class centre back, will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

He, however, added that Frank Lampard, and not Thomas Tuchel is to blame for the player’s decision to leave.

Antonio Rudiger’s contract expires at the end of the season but he has refused to agree a new deal with the Blues.

The player established himself in the Chelsea squad under Tuchel, helping the west London side stay top of the table.

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and some other Europe’s elite clubs are interested in landing him as a free agent following his impressive displays.

However, Merson says the player’s mind is already made up to leave on a free transfer, stating it has been so since he fell out of favour under Frank Lampard.

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

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

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