'Same level': TalkSPORT pundit claims Chelsea player is just as good as Manchester City's £65m man

Jonathan Woodgate placed Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger in the same bracket as Manchester City’s Ruben Dias.

Speaking on talkSPORT, Woodgate happily placed the pair as the two of the top-performing centre-backs in the world right now.

Alongside Virgil van Dijk, it is difficult to look past the boys in blue for better players in their position.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Rudiger’s rejuvenation

Rudiger has been something of a revelation in the past 12 months, following the arrival of Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge.

His rise from outcast under Frank Lampard to arguably Chelsea’s most important asset is quite remarkable.

Few could’ve predicted such a change in fortunes, even those devoted to the Blues.

Yet, this is now the German’s world and we are all living in it.

Deal or no deal

Unfortunately, followers of Tuchel’s team might not be able to revel in Rudiger’s universe for much longer.

With his contract expiring in the summer, foreign clubs can negotiate terms for a transfer away from South West London this month.

Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen are in the same boat, yet their possible departures would be trounced by that of the former Roma centurion.  

Photo by GLYN KIRK/IKIMAGES/AFP via Getty Images

“I’d put him in the same level as Dias, but he’s definitely been outstanding this season,” said Woodgate on Rudiger.

“Azpilicueta, you can replace him, but Rudiger is the one, Chelsea have to keep him. You’d have to spend a hell a lot of money.”

Decent Dias

Chelsea losing Rudiger would be on par with City losing Dias, who hasn’t been a half-bad addition to Pep Guardiola’s defence either.

Since his £65m (Sky Sports) move from Benfica in 2020, the 24-year-old has arguably been the best centre-half in English football.

He was named the FWA Footballer of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season and Manchester City’s Player of the Year in his debut campaign.

Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

The Portugal international even beat Rudiger to the UEFA Men’s Defender of the Season, yet the Chelsea man trumped him by winning the actual Champions League trophy.

A couple of wonderful professionals who are almost impossible to separate.

The top-flight would feel a little empty without them.

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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.