Chelsea could finally replace Antonio Rudiger by making £25m January move - Apkcombat

Chelsea could finally replace Antonio Rudiger by making £25m January move

Chelsea are in the market for a new centre-back this winter and have identified a £25m “battleship”.


On Wednesday night, Chelsea conceded an xG of 4.07 against Manchester United which was the second-highest xG a team have managed in a Premier League game this season, second only to the Blues’ 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur back in November.

However, Spurs had ten men for little over a half-hour and ended the match with nine players. Meanwhile, Chelsea had their full eleven out at Old Trafford in midweek as United peppered 28 shots at Robert Sanchez. The 2-1 scoreline potentially flattered the visitors.

The London outfit looked wide open at the back and Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly in the market for a new centre-back to rectify his team’s defensive woes this winter.

Chelsea transfer news – Jonathan Tah

According to BILD reporter Christian Falk, Chelsea are interested in signing Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah this season, having been excellent for Bayer Leverkusen under Xabi Alonso, with the German outfit rushing to the top of the Bundesliga.

The journalist is claiming that the Blues are eyeing up the Germany international as a replacement for veteran Thiago Silva.

Falk also reports that the 27-year-old centre-half has a release clause in his contract, although Leverkusen’s sporting director Simon Rolfes revealed during the summer that Tah’s £17m buyout clause had expired, allowing the side to negotiate their own asking price. The CIES Football Observatory has valued Tah at £25m which isn’t too far off his original release clause.

Silva has been a tremendous servant for the Blues, having joined the club three-and-a-half years ago at the ripe age of 35. Former Chelsea head coach Graham Potter even admitted that the Brazilian’s football brain is “above everybody” else.

However, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, a few months before his 40th birthday, Chelsea need to start looking at replacements and Tah could be the perfect choice.

Jonathan Tah
Per 90 Metrics Ranking in Europe
Touches Top 19%
Touches In Middle Third Top 11%
Successful Take-Ons Top 17%
Carries Top 20%
Passes Attempted Top 22%
Passes Completed Top 15%
Through Balls Top 40%
Pass Completion Top 3%
Long Pass Completion % Top 3%
Goals Top 16%
Shots On Target Top 14%
Stats via FBref

Jonathan Tah’s stats this season

During his early days with Leverkusen, former teammate Christoph Kramer described the centre-back as a “defensive battleship”, but it is actually his stats in possession of the ball that make the German stand out. Tah is ranking very highly when compared to all other central defenders from Europe’s top-five leagues this term in a host of possession-based metrics.

What would also make Tah a useful addition to Chelsea’s squad is that, like Silva, he has played predominantly as the central centre-back in a three-man defensive line in and out of possession for Leverkusen under head coach Xabi Alonso. The Blues used the 3-4-2-1 system to great success under Thomas Tuchel during the team’s run to European glory two years ago.

The idea from Tuchel was for the three centre-backs and two central midfielders to play short passes between themselves to entice the opposition’s midfield to press, leaving gaps in behind. One player who was integral to the side’s success under the current Bayern Munich boss was Antonio Rudiger.

Rudiger became a Chelsea player in 2017 for £29m during Antonio Conte’s spell in charge and operated as both the middle centre-back and left-sided central defender. His displays at Stamford Bridge led Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand to call him “immense”.


The former Roma star left Chelsea in 2022 on a free transfer but the Blues never quite replaced the sheer quality Rudiger brought to the backline.

Nevertheless, Tah could finally be the man to replace Rudiger and Silva and is statistically outperforming the duo in a number of defensive areas this term.

Jonathan Tah vs Antonio Rudiger vs Thiago Silva
Per 90 Metrics Tah Rudiger Silva
Goals 0.23 0 0.07
Expected Goals 0.07 0.04 0.02
Progressive Passes 3.76 2.65 2.93
Progressive Carries 0.45 0.7 0.07
Passes To Final Third 4.14 3.46 4.53
Tackles 1.15 1.08 1.13
Tackles Won 0.64 0.65 0.6
Clearances 3.89 3.3 4.13
Interceptions 0.47 0.38 0.87
Blocks 1.34 1.19 1.07
Aerial Duel Win % 82.1 70.9 77.8
Stats via FBref

Leverkusen are cruising at the top of the Bundesliga so perhaps Tah may not want to leave for a club who are going through somewhat of a crisis on the pitch at the moment. However, Chelsea would be getting a tremendous defender, should they manage to secure his services, and a player who would instantly improve their backline.

Chelsea likely to make move to sign “sensational” player in January

The Blues have been credited with an interest in a new target over in Italy.


Chelsea are one of the clubs in the race to bring an overseas central player to the Premier League, according to a fresh report.

Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield options

The Blues have Moises Caicedo, Romeo Lavia and Lesley Ugochukwu as their natural options in defensive midfield, and with the former two having only put pen to paper over the summer, the manager doesn’t need to strengthen that position any further. However, Mauricio Pochettino will know that his side are sitting 10th in the table so could be forced to enter the market to find players who would be an upgrade on his existing squad members, and he’s seemingly set his sights on one potential candidate.

Back in 2021, Inter Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu first arrived at the San Siro Stadium from AC Milan and he’s since gone on to make a total of 112 senior appearances to date under Simone Inzaghi (Transfermarkt – Calhanoglu statistics).

The Turkey international has firmly established himself as the Serie A outfit’s best-performing defensive player so far this season (WhoScored – Inter Milan statistics), and the 29-year-old’s impressive form has brought him onto the radar at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea interested in Hakan Calhanoglu

According to InterLive (via Sport Witness), Chelsea are keen on signing Calhanoglu, but they aren’t alone in their pursuit with Liverpool and West Ham also hoping to secure his services in January.

The Premier League trio are “likely” to make a move for the talisman in the coming weeks, but even if a concrete attempt is made, Inter Milan wouldn’t be willing to sanction his sale, even for a fee in the region of approximately €50m (£42m).


Todd Boehly could land “sensational” talent in Calhanoglu

Being a defensive midfielder, Calhanoglu is naturally stronger at clearing the danger and protecting his backline which he’s proven so far this season by winning 20 out of 35 tackles, more than any other of his fellow teammates (FBRef – Inter Milan statistics).

Mannheim’s native also likes to get involved with the action in the final third having posted seven contributions (six goals and one assist), in 14 Serie A appearances since the start of the campaign, showing his ability to make an impact at both ends of the pitch.

Calhanoglu’s Style Of Play
Likes to play long balls
Plays the ball off the ground often
Likes to shoot from distance
Commits fouls often

Sponsored by Nike, Pochettino’s target even knows what it takes to compete and be successful at a high level having secured six trophies on a collective level following his arrival on the professional scene, so he will possess a much-needed winning mentality that he could pass onto the rest of the squad in the capital.

Finally, Calhanoglu shares the same representative, Unique Sports Group, as Reece James (Chelsea agents), so the existing connection that the “sensational” player’s management already have to the club, as hailed by journalist Josh Bunting, could give them a small advantage over their competitors when trying to get a deal over the line.

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