Atletico Madrid defender Jose Maria Jimenez is among the players set to be targeted by Chelsea to replace Antonio Rudiger.
According to a report from Goal, Chelsea are gearing up for an uncertain summer transfer window as their ownership crisis drags on. With the takeover still yet to be completed, the ongoing restrictions imposed by the UK Government are starting to take their toll. The club, nevertheless, have begun to draw up plans for the new season.
One of their priorities is to replace Antonio Rudiger. The influential German international is set to leave Stamford Bridge on a Bosman deal this summer, having reached an agreement with Real Madrid. In an attempt to replace the former Borussia Dortmund starlet, Chelsea have set their sights on Jose Maria Gimenez, among many others.
Despite being only 27, Gimenez is one of the most experienced defenders in La Liga and a crucial leader in the Atletico Madrid camp. Since joining the club in 2013, he has made almost 250 competitive appearances for the Spanish champions, winning two league titles and reaching the final of the UEFA Champions League twice.
During his time at the club, the Uruguayan international has built a reputation for his no-nonsense defensive approach. Standing at 1.85m, the centre-back also offers physical and aerial dominance, which is coupled with his leadership qualities, making him an ideal coup for a Chelsea side desperate for defensive reinforcements.
In addition to losing Rudiger to Real Madrid, the Blues will also see Andreas Christensen move to FC Barcelona on a Bosman deal. It has accentuated the need for a fresh face in the defensive unit and Gimenez, to that end, could fit the bill due to his experience, aggression and physical prowess.
The Uruguayan international could be an ideal replacement for Rudiger on the left-hand side of the back three, although he would ideally like to operate from the middle.
Signing Gimenez, though, could be tricky as Atletico Madrid are unlikely to be keen on offloading their defensive asset anytime soon. And with the 27-year-old still having a contract until 2025, Los Colchoneros have the leverage to hold out for a hefty price tag.
Fortunately for Chelsea, they have no shortage of alternatives. Apart from Gimenez, they have been keeping an eye on Jules Kounde, Wesley Fofana and Presnel Kimpembe, although the Blues are eyeing a move for Pau Torres of Villarreal, with a €60 million bid reportedly in the works.