Chelsea have finally jump started their summer business, making their second signing of the current window by sealing the services of German international defender, Antonio Rüdiger, from AS Roma on a five-year deal. Will he become the latest revelation in Antonio Conte’s rock solid defensive setup?
Name: Antonio Rüdiger
Tackle win %: 43
Jack of all Trades
It’s been a frustrating summer for the aforementioned Conte, made worse by Romelu Lukaku’s decision to reunite with former boss, Jose Mourinho, at Manchester United instead of opting for a Stamford Bridge reunion. Nonetheless, he can be happy with this move as Chelsea’s defense has gotten another versatile defender to go with the likes of David Luiz and César Azpilicueta. Rüdiger is primarily a centre back, but can also hold his own as a right back – he played 1/3 of his games there in 2016/17 – and has even been deployed as a defensive midfielder during his five-year career as a professional.
If there is one thing Chelsea fans should be cautious of though, it’s his durability. He has never played more than 30 league games in a season, having had knee issues in the past.
Following a promising run in the German Bundesliga with VFB Stuttgart, where he averaged a 49% tackle win rate and 33 interceptions during his three seasons there, Rüdiger moved to Roma in 2015, where his talents were elevated. In his two campaigns at the Stadio Olimpico, he developed a reputation as being one of the best ball-playing defenders in Serie A, with the ability to play the ball out the back, dribble with comfort and completing balls over the top to jump start attacks. The epitome of a modern era centre back.
#SquawkaScout: Antonio Rüdiger. 🔵
185 long balls completed 🎯
72 interceptions 👀
62% take-ons completed 🔥
The modern centre-back. pic.twitter.com/NH81uRhVwB
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 9, 2017
Roma finished with the second best defense in the league thanks in part to the Berlin native. This got them closer to Juventus that they’ve ever been during the Old Lady’s dynasty, but fell just short in a season dominated by talk of the departure of the legendary Francesco Totti.