By Mukwuzi Joseph
Thomas Tuchel has confirmed Toni Rudiger’s decision to leave Chelsea– admitting it will be a huge task to replace the center-back.
The Germany international has rejected a contract worth 230,000-a-week which would have made him the highest-paid defender in the club’s history.
He is expected to complete a move to Real Madrid in the summer when he will become a free agent.
Tuchel said: “The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this in a private talk.
“We gave everything – me and the club – but we could not fight anymore because of the sanctions. Without the sanctions, we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but our hands are tied. We don’t take it personally. It is his decision.”
With out-of-contract Andreas Christensen also set to leave for Barcelona in the summer, Chelsea will be left needing to spend huge sums to reinforce a defense that took them all the way to Champions League glory last season.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is their top target – but they will need another top class defender to fill the gap.
Tuchel admitted Rudiger’s departure is a massive blow and outlined the problems Chelsea face to replace him.
“At the moment, it is not possible because of the sanctions,” he said. “And even when the sanctions are in the past, it will be incredibly difficult.
“Toni is what he is. He is a big personality, a big leader, he takes the fear away from other people, gives you confidence when he is next to you, and has played 50-60 matches over 90 minutes with incredible consistency.