Tag Archives: Kurt Zouma

Antonio Rudiger: Chelsea Show Ruthless Side Of Football

Chelsea are known for being one of the more ruthless clubs in Europe when it comes to parting ways with managers or selling players.

This summer, they have backed their man Frank Lampard with £250million worth of talent including two German internationals in Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Both men credited the influence of their international teammate Antonio Rudiger in their decision to wear blue going forward.

But once those deals were completed, Frank Lampard has now made the decision that Rudiger is surplus to requirements at the club and he could be allowed to leave the club before Monday’s deadline. He has been left out of five consecutive match-day squads and hasn’t featured for yet in the current campaign.

Lampard seems to prefer the four options of Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori and Andreas Christensen over the 27 year old former Roma man, but that didn’t stop him using his influence to land his targets. Many will say “that’s business”, and that’s fair, but it’s also the darker side of football.

If Antonio Rudiger, who has two years left on his contract at Stamford Bridge, had upped and decided he wanted to leave and kicked up a fuss he’d be ridiculed by media and labelled a traitor of sorts. However because it’s Chelsea who want to get rid of him, nobody bats an eyelid.

I find it interesting. When a player wants to make a move to better themselves or further their career, they’re almost always labelled with a “money-grabber” label and are told to honour their contract. Why doesn’t it work for clubs too?

They were happy to use his influence in the transfer market to bring in his two mates but now they want to cast him aside. How do you think both Werner and Havertz feel about the situation? The likelihood is they were helped to make their decision by the fact they’d have a friend there to help them settle in and play alongside. Now he’s likely to leave at the earliest opportunity.

I get that Chelsea shouldn’t keep him around if he’s not a part of their plans and he should be allowed to make the move elsewhere, but it just seems shady with the way the whole summer has gone. Many fans will ignore it and see it as just another step of backing the manager, but it’s too easily forgotten that Rudiger is a human being with a family and a life too.

Chelsea have got what they want and will likely let Rudiger leave before the window closes, but it will be on their terms to a club of their choosing. Rudiger has helped boost Chelsea’s future hugely this summer and now has zero control over his own.


Chelsea Desperate For Defensive Quality In The Summer

As Chelsea rolled past Norwich City to maintain their place in third place at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, the game seemed to ask more questions than provide answers.

Olivier Giroud missed countless chances in the first half before he finally got on the scoresheet thirty seconds before half-time to give the Blues the lead. Despite Norwich already being relegated, that was the only real action in an incident-less clash in West London.

Frank Lampard’s side have already acknowledged their struggles in attack for next season though. They have already completed the signings of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig for a combined fee of around £80million and continue to be linked strongly with Leverkusen superstar Kai Havertz.

They are desperate for more goals in their side and have addressed the issue well, with time to spare before the new season for those players to bed in and be able to hit the ground running. It’s the other end of the pitch that is desperate for adjustments though.

Despite the clean sheet against Norwich, Chelsea have conceded 49 goals in the Premier League this season. That’s the most out of any club in the top half of the table and the most they’ve conceded in a single season since 1996/97 when they conceded 54.

It’s a long way away from the days when Jose Mourinho’s Blues, including Frank Lampard in midfield, conceded just 15 goals in their 38 games. While it’s unrealistic to expect them to re-live those past glories, its certainly not wrong to expect better.

Napoli v AC Milan - Serie A : News Photo
Koulibaly would be a dream signing for Chelsea but they’d have to compete with Man City

Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori have all played 15 games or more each in the league, which shows just how choppy Lampard has been with his selections. Add to that Cesar Azpilicueta playing 4 games at centre-back this season too and you have a man clearly unaware of his best defence.

With all those names and their experiences combined though, none of them stand out as top drawer defenders. None of them have any real leadership qualities to their name and none of them, in my opinion, love defending. As cliché as it is, you need to have defenders that love defending to be successful.

Virgil Van Dijk is one of the best ball-playing centre-backs in the world, but there’s nothing that he enjoys more than killing the opposition attack dead in it’s tracks with an interception. Raphael Varane loves breaking the lines with his passing but the joy in his eyes is unmatched compared to when he wins a foot-race with an attacker trying to counter-attack and takes the ball from him. You have to love defending. Chelsea are severely lacking that profile in their side.

With a move for Kai Havertz reportedly set to cost upwards of the £70million mark, questions need to be asked about whether the priorities are right at Chelsea at the moment. For me, there’s nothing wrong with targeting the German if you also plan on adding to your defence. If it’s one or the other though, Lampard could be making a crucial mistake not investing in a leaky defence.

Manchester City are reportedly looking at Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, who would fit in perfectly at Stamford Bridge. While they may not be able to compete for him, there are certainly other options. The likes of Milan Skriniar, Jose Gimenez and Ruben Dias are all likely to be attainable for a price of around what they’d pay for Havertz, if not less. They’d all walk into Chelsea’s line up and instantly become the lead figure in the side, while also being of the level. It’s not just enough to improve on a player you currently have who isn’t good enough, they need to be of the correct standard. Replacing Antonio Rudiger with someone better than him, but still not good enough for Champions League calibre strikers won’t help Chelsea long term and it’s something fans need to think about when they ask for players to come in.

Liverpool waited for Van Dijk because he was the man and they wouldn’t settle for less. It was an admirable stance to take and has clearly worked out well for them. Chelsea should take note of that with their defensive targets and make the decision.