The German’s contract with the Pensioners will run out at the end of the current season, but he can discuss a contract with other clubs before that.
Real Madrid were leading the race for the centre-back’s signature as he reportedly rejected a contract worth more than £200,000-a-week at Chelsea.
Rudiger’s representatives reportedly (h/t Guardian) wanted a large signing on bonus as well as agent fees, which made the agreement hard to reach.
“Real Madrid have reached verbal agreement with Antonio Rüdiger. Contract not signed yet – but Real Madrid are now closing on Rüdiger deal on a free: here we go soon!
“It’s gonna be a long-term deal. Final details to be discussed soon, before signing the contract.”
Rudiger’s departure to Real Madrid will be a big loss for Chelsea
The German centre-back has been a key cog under Thomas Tuchel since the manager arrived at Stamford Bridge early last year.
Not only is Rudiger quick, but his passing has been an underrated aspect of his game under Tuchel, who has gotten the best out of the player.
Real Madrid have plenty of options at the back, but a player of Rudiger’s caliber would improve the overall quality of the squad.
Los Blancos signed David Alaba last summer, and adding Rudiger this summer would certainly make up for the departure of Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos, who were regulars at the club before leaving in 2021.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have a big summer ahead. Andreas Christensen is also widely expected to leave on a free transfer and join Barcelona, so they will need to dip their toes in the transfer market.
Losing two key players who have been part of the successful Chelsea spine under Tuchel in one window would be a set-back.
Rudiger will hope to finish the season on a high and help Chelsea hold on to third position in the Premier League and win the FA Cup in May. The Blues will face Liverpool in the FA Cup final.