Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has reportedly reached a verbal agreement with Real Madrid to move to the Bernabeu this summer.
Rudiger, 29, is out of contract at the end of the season and Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has confirmed the central defender plans to leave on a free transfer.
Several of the top clubs in European football have been linked with the Germany international, including Manchester United, Barcelona, PSG and Real Madrid.
According to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid is close to winning the race to sign Rudiger.
“Real Madrid has reached a verbal agreement with Antonio Rudiger,” Romano tweeted.
“The contract is not yet signed, but Real Madrid is now closing the deal with Rudiger for free: here we go soon! #RealMadrid
“It will be a long-term agreement. The final details will be discussed soon, before signing the contract.”
Rudiger has been with Chelsea since 2017 but has stalled on signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge, with the Premier League club reportedly unwilling to match his salary demands.
Tuchel initially hoped to convince Rudiger to stay with the Blues.
However, he has now admitted that the sanctions imposed on club owner Roman Abramovich have made it virtually impossible to retain the defender.
Real Madrid has reached a verbal agreement with Antonio Rüdiger. The contract is yet to be signed, but Real Madrid are now closing the deal with Rüdiger for free – here we go soon! ⚪️🤝 #Real Madrid
It will be a long-term deal. The final details will be discussed soon, before signing the contract. pic.twitter.com/Jn0uvP0UQa
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 25, 2022
Speaking after Sunday’s 1-0 win over West Ham, Tuchel said: “The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this in a private conversation.
“We gave everything, me and the club, but we couldn’t fight anymore for the shares.
“Without the sanctions we could at least continue fighting, but our hands are tied. We don’t take it personally. It is your decision.
“He is a key figure and will continue to be so until the end of the season. But he is a disappointment. We will miss him very much. He gives courage in the dressing room.”
“The guy that everyone fears, but the guy who plays 50-55 games at an outstanding level. To me, he’s one of the best defenders in the last year and a half.”
“Then we have to find another solution.”