Barcelona have reportedly decided not to pursue the signing of Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger despite having spoken to his agent.

According to reputed journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona are set to end their pursuit of Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Rudiger joined Chelsea from AS Roma in the summer of 2017 and became an important member of the side until the first half of the last season when Frank Lampard decided to freeze him out. Once Thomas Tuchel took over in January 2021, he reinstated the 28-year-old into the first-team setup, and the German defender has not looked back since.

Rudiger has established himself as one of the best defenders in the game, having helped Chelsea win the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup over the past ten months. However, the former AS Roma ace will be on his way out in the summer, with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

A number of top clubs across Europe, like Real Madrid and PSG, have taken an interest in the 28-year-old. Barcelona, too, entered the race to sign Rudiger and even met with his agent recently to discuss a potential transfer.

With Gerard Pique entering the final phase of his career, Barcelona need a new centre-back to take over the reins as the leader of the defensive unit for the future. Rudiger is a viable target for the Catalans, given his form and standing at Chelsea.

However, as per the latest update from Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona are unlikely to continue their pursuit of the 28-year-old Chelsea defender. The Italian journalist claims that the Blaugrana are happy with their defensive options. They are set to extend Ronald Araujo’s contract and are poised to sign a different Chelsea defender in Andreas Christensen.

As a result, Barcelona have decided not to press ahead with their interest in Rudiger. Even if they had done, the German international’s wage demands of around €10 million per year would have been a major roadblock for the La Liga heavyweights, who are in a difficult financial situation.

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