Chelsea have officially announced the signing of AS Roma defender Antonio Rudiger on a five-year deal. The Germany-international is set to join up with his new teammates ahead of the club’s preseason training regime, which is scheduled to begin Monday, July 10th.
The news will come as little surprise to Blues fans worldwide, as we’ve been tired and bored and recklessly been taken advantage of with this purported interest in Rudiger last summer. However, there was little rumour or interest even mentioned for the Roma defender this summer till the club’s other defender, Kostas Manolas, famously failed to show up for his Zenit Saint-Petersburg medical because he did not want his wages paid in Roubles—but in Euros.
Roma, being under Financial Fair Play obligations this summer, had to have a break-even deficit of €30 million by June 30th. So when the Manolas transfer to Zenit failed, the club had to act quickly when Chelsea came in with a bid—not for the Greek defender, but for his partner, the combatant 24-year-old Antonio Rudiger.
A deal was agreed fairly swiftly between the two clubs, and it provided both parties with what they needed: for Roma it was obliging with FFP, for Chelsea it was a quality option at centre-back for an extremely good price.
This deal also shows the Premier League champions’ reluctance to overpay for any one player. In the modern transfer market where clubs do not bat an eyelid without the fee reaching £50 million, a physical, tough-tackling young centre-back for just over £30 million is damn good business. And this particular trait, of not being forced to overpay for a player, goes back a long way at Chelsea.
Other than the infamous transfer of Fernando Torres on deadline day of January 2011 for £50 million, the Blues have arguably never overspent ridiculously on one transfer. The club’s best players, Diego Costa (€38 million), Cesc Fabregas (€33 million), Eden Hazard (€35 million), N’Golo Kante (€35.8 million), etc. have all arrived for fairly decent fees, and in the case of Kante, an extremely decent fee, especially when compared to his French compatriot Paul Pogba, who subsequently joined Manchester United for a world-record fee eclipsing €100 million—and then went on to have a barely mediocre first season. Sure, they’re two different players with two very different skillsets, but if given the chance to go back in time and reassess the transfers done last summer, I know for sure which midfielder I’d pick every day of the week.
Chelsea’s dealings so far this window with the acquisition of Willy Caballero on a free transfer and Antonio Rudiger earlier today show very little promise of anything but a modest spending. It’s more than probable that the Premier League champions will spend less than their direct rivals in United, City, and even Arsenal. The red half of Manchester already has a head-start after agreeing a staggering £75 million deal with Everton for Romelu Lukaku, who is suspect at best in big games.
However, it is highly unlikely that the Blues will get anybody for way over what they’re worth. Even if it means that the deal is seized by a direct rival.