Chelsea are still some way off meeting Antonio Rudiger’s wage demands, as the clock continues to run down on his contract.
According to ESPN, Rudiger would like his £100,000-a-week salary doubled if he’s to remain a Blue for another season.
The Germany international has reportedly been met with a £150,000-a-week offer by his employers.
With £50,000 difference between the two parties, it’s still unclear how this issue will be resolved.
One, very increasingly likely outcome, is Rudiger leaves on a free next summer when his deal expires.
Clubs are allowed to set up a pre-contract agreement in January, with Paris Saint-German, Real Madrid and Juventus all circling in anticipation.
Letting the 28-year-old leave for nothing would be a poor piece of business, from a footballing and financial standpoint.
Antoni-go or Antoni-stay?
Rudiger is now widely regarded as one of Europe’s fiercest centre-backs, following the appointment of Thomas Tuchel in January.
His tether was nearly worn under Frank Lampard, but Tuchel managed to re-sow the loose stitches.
He returned to the starting XI with a flourish, putting the decision to exclude him in serious doubt.
“I think he’s been absolutely tremendous since he got back in the side,” said talkSPORT pundit Ally McCoist.
ESPN states the former Roma man wants to remain at Chelsea, yet the club are no pushovers when it comes to player’s demands.
Willian was denied a fresh set of terms before his disastrous spell at Arsenal.
Of course, Rudiger’s hands may be tied if the Blues try to sign Jules Kounde again when the market reopens.
Kounde remains a target, although Sevilla insist they won’t sell the Frenchman for anything lower than his £68m (ESPN) release clause.