‘Treated by Frank Lampard’: Paul Merson believes Chelsea player is leaving because of the former manager

Paul Merson thinks Frank Lampard’s treatment of Antonio Rudiger is the reason behind his departure from Chelsea.

Writing for Sky Sports, Merson pointed the finger at the current Everton manager for making Rudiger leave Stamford Bridge.

The right move for Rudiger?

The defender will join Real Madrid as a free agent at the end of the season, following failed discussions over a contract extension.

He wanted a deserved pay rise to reflect his performances under Thomas Tuchel, but the Blues were unwilling to budge.

They did offer him a significant salary increase, although not to the level the 29-year-old was expecting.

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Conversations over a new deal stalled even further once Roman Abramovich faced sanctions from the UK government.

Instead of waiting for the new owners to be installed to debate possible alternatives, Rudiger decided enough was enough.

Madrid came calling and he answered.

Although, Merson claimed the centre-back has been waiting for the telephone to buzz ever since Tuchel’s predecessor was in charge.

 Lampard’s treatment of Rudiger caused his exit

“Losing Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid is going to break Chelsea’s heart – but his mind was made up 18 months ago with the way he was treated by Frank Lampard,” said the former Arsenal midfielder.

“He got completely binned out the team by Lampard and I think that left a lasting effect on Rudiger. That’s when he decided that he’s not signing a new contract.

“Now Chelsea are letting a £70m-80m defender go on a free transfer and they’re going to bring someone in for £70m in that will be nowhere as good as Rudiger.”

Lampard and Rudiger certainly did not see eye-to-eye whilst the pair were part of the same dressing room.

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The former Chelsea coach exiled the German international to the wings before he was replaced by Tuchel last January.

Since the reshuffling of the dugout, Rudiger has been completely reformed.

Which makes his decision to set sail for Spain even more depressing.

He is loved beyond belief by the fan base, as well as being an important character in the squad.

Not to mention a vital component on the pitch, one that Merson rightly pointed out will be difficult to find cover for.

If only Lampard had been a little lighter with Antonio…

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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.