Chelsea targeting three centre-backs to replace Rudiger and Christensen

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Chelsea targeting three centre-backs to replace contract rebels Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen

The Blues are planning to drastically alter their back-line (Picture: Getty Images)

Chelsea are increasingly fearful that contract rebels Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen will leave the club on free transfers and have drawn up a shortlist of replacements, according to reports.

Both players have been mainstays under Thomas Tuchel but Germany international Rudiger is unwilling to accept the west London club’s latest salary offer while talks have now also broken down with Christensen.

Experienced defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva are also out of contract next summer, leaving the Blues on the verge of a potential crisis at the back.

Chelsea target Jules Kounde of Sevilla

Chelsea are set to return with a fresh offer for Kounde (Picture: Getty)

But according to Eurosport, Chelsea’s hierarchy are already hard at work bracing themselves for a potential defensive exodus and want to bring in two high-profile centre-backs to bolster their backline.

Top of their list remains Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, who they pursued throughout the summer but were ultimately unable to agree a fee for.

The Frenchman is still on Chelsea’s radar and they could make a fresh bid when the January window opens, even though their horde of contract rebels will still be at the club.

But Kounde will not be the only new defensive recruit, with the Blues also seriously looking into the possibility of signing Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus.

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The Netherlands international has not quite lived up to his price tag in Turin and Juve are believed to be open to selling him if they receive a fee in the region of what they paid to Ajax two years ago.

De Ligt’s wages could prove to be a stumbling block, however, and Chelsea are aware that any package for the defender – who is represented by Mino Raiola – would be a massive outlay.

Juventus' Matthijs De Ligt

Any deal for De Ligt would be an expensive operation (Picture: PA)

A third name being considered is Villarreal and Spain defender Pau Torres, who is likely to be the least expensive of the three options.

Chelsea are fast becoming resigned to losing Rudiger and the German has a host of clubs queuing up to sign him including Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, while Premier League duo Manchester City and Tottenham are also keen.

There is more optimism that Christensen can be convinced to stay at Stamford Bridge, though regardless Chelsea still want to bring in two new centre-backs.


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