Jose Mourinho has reportedly set his sights on Chelsea for the signing of Antonio Rudiger as he seeks defensive reinforcements at AS Roma in January.

According to a report from Corriere dello Sport, Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has emerged as a transfer target for Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma ahead of the January transfer window.

The 28-year-old is in the final year of his contract with the Premier League giants and is strongly linked with an exit as talks over a new contract are yet to bear fruit. Rudiger has been attracting plenty of interest from some of the top clubs across Europe, with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham all keen on a free transfer swoop for him.

However, a new club has emerged in his pursuit in Serie A giants AS Roma. The Giallorossi are seeking reinforcements at the back in the upcoming January transfer window, with manager Jose Mourinho not favouring Marash Kumbulla while Chris Smalling has struggled this term.

This has led to Mourinho looking at his former clubs to bolster his squad, with Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof being linked with a switch to Rome, with Rudiger also popping up on the radars of the Italian capital club.

Set to don the famous Roma strip again? (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)
Set to don the famous Roma strip again? (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

The 28-year-old German international has ties with Roma, having spent two seasons with the Serie A outfit between 2015 and 2017 after joining from Eintracht Frankfurt. His exploits with the Giallorossi had earned him the big switch to Chelsea four years ago. Even though Rudiger has had his ups and downs at Stamford Bridge, he is currently one of the most in-form defenders in Europe.

After being brought back from the cold by Thomas Tuchel earlier this year, the aggressive centre-back has been a pillar of strength at the back for Chelsea. Rudiger helped them to the UEFA Champions League trophy, the UEFA Super Cup triumph, while he has also played a key role in their rise to the top of the Premier League table this season.

So, it should not come as a surprise that Chelsea are keen on tying him down to a new contract. However, with a resolution on the matter yet to be reached, clubs are lining up to sign him up. While some of his suitors mentioned above want to land him on a Bosman move next summer, Roma are eager to re-sign the 28-year-old as early as January.

The Giallorossi raided Chelsea already once this year, with Tammy Abraham leaving Stamford Bridge for Stadio Olimpico. However, a move for Rudiger will be difficult to pull off, considering the stature of the clubs that they are competing against. Furthermore, Roma might not have the financial muscle to offer a lucrative enough contract to the German.

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