'He's going to run that contract down': Ian Wright is convinced Chelsea player's going to leave on a free

Ian Wright has insisted that Antonio Rudiger already had his head out of the Chelsea exit door before the club went under sanction.

Speaking on The Kelly and Wright Show, the former Arsenal striker offered up his theory about the departing defender.

Rudiger is reportedly on the verge of signing a four-year contract with Real Madrid.

The centre-back’s future appears finally to be settled, after months of uncertainty regarding his stay at Stamford Bridge.

He had been pushing for a wage increase, one that the Chelsea chain of command failed to deliver.

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This standoff was not helped by the sanctions placed upon Roman Abramovich, with negotiations over anything financial coming to a standstill.

Rudiger chooses Real Madrid

Evidently, Rudiger could not wait any longer for the new owners to be announced and instead took matters into his own hands.

Thomas Tuchel confirmed his compatriot’s decision to join Madrid last Sunday, shortly after Chelsea’s 1-0 victory against West Ham United.

However, Wright claims this judgement call was actually made some time ago.

“I think that even before everything happened with the sanctions, I think his (Rudiger) mind was made up,” he said.

“He’s going to run that contract down so he can leave. We are hearing he will go to Madrid.

“I don’t think it helped him being ostracised under Frank (Lampard).”

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How many more times will Chelsea crumble?

Chelsea fans have walked down this path before with Rudiger.

He was on the verge of leaving South West London whilst Lampard was at the helm.

But the arrival of Tuchel changed the complexion of the scene entirely.

Players previously cast aside were brought back into the light.

None more so than Rudiger, who has since transformed into one of Europe’s very best centre-halves.

Which makes his imminent exit even more disappointing from a Chelsea perspective.

The former Roma centurion joins an ever-growing list of senior defenders who have either left Chelsea, or are close to doing so.

Since Lampard became manager, Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guehi and Kurt Zouma have all been sold, whilst Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta could leave in the summer.

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“But when you look at the way it’s been managed at Chelsea,” continued Wright.

“Guehi and Tomori, they were before Tuchel could get hold of them, then you’ve got Christensen and Azpilicueta coming out of contract and Rudiger may be leaving.

“You think to yourself ‘what is going on there at the moment?’”

We’ve been asking ourselves the same question for a while, Wrighty.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.