Joe Cole backed Antonio Rudiger to resolve his contract issues and remain at Chelsea for a little while longer.
Speaking on talkSPORT, the Blues icon put good money on Rudiger signing a new deal, ensuring he remains at Stamford Bridge beyond this season.
Tales of Antonio
The German international is keeping the footballing world on tenterhooks regarding his future.
In five months, the 28-year-old will be a free agent once his pact with Chelsea comes to an end.
Unless the player’s wages demands are met by the board.
Rudiger has asked for a pay rise from £90,000-a-week (The Athletic) to around the £180,000 – £200,000-a-week mark.
This is a fair reflection of the defender’s own upwards trajectory from outcast under Frank Lampard to one of Europe’s most sort after assets in the space of fewer than 12 months.
Chelsea have so far offered £140,000-a-week (The Athletic), a decent increase but one that does not meet the player’s expectations.
Cole keeps face
Although talks between Marina Granovskaia and Rudiger’s agent and brother, Sahr Senesie, have improved recently, there is still no definitive answer to the issue.
Similar problems are surrounding Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, two other members of the expiring contract gang.
Thiago Silva did recently confirm his allegiance until 2023, but the other three are proving much more difficult to tie down.
However, Cole still held high hopes for the potentially departing trio, especially the £29m (BBC) arrival from Roma.
“All four of the lads who are coming to the end of their contract, I think their professionalism has been outstanding and their performance levels have not dropped,” he said.
“Rudiger has been one of the outstanding players of the Thomas Tuchel reign. He’s a big player and big character and one they will be looking to keep.
“I don’t see the affect in his performance. I think he’ll stay, I really do. He’s found a home there, he’s loved by the fans and club. I fancy he stays.”
Rudiger is too good to lose
There would be an uproar from a large section of the supporters if Rudiger is allowed to leave in the summer.
He has built up a cult hero status, mainly for his larger-than-life character that is becoming a rarity in the modern game.
Unfortunately, the bids from foreign clubs might be simply too much to reject.
Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are all reportedly targeting the centre-back, each with individual incentives to propose.
It’s going to be one of this year’s thrillers until Rudiger reveals the title of his next movie.