It was March, explains Antonio Rudiger, when he finally decided this season would be his last at Chelsea.
Having started it with no desire to leave, ‘definitely not’, he was surprised when unresolved talks over an improved deal stalled for five months and ‘crazy rumours’ about his future were able to circulate.
‘I was thinking “wow” but I kept quiet,’ says Rudiger. He promised head coach Thomas Tuchel and director Marina Granovskaia not to let ‘this type of stuff’ distract from his football in the final year of his contract and was determined to be professional.
Then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to sanctions on Roman Abramovich and no contracts could be signed until Chelsea completed the takeover process now grinding to a close.
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