Chelsea might not have time to renew Antonio Rudiger’s contract this summer, which is set to expire and allow him to leave for nothing. But a multi-million transfer might not be necessary, because one player already looks the ideal fit.
Chelsea look close to losing Rudiger at the end of the season when his contract expires as a result of their ongoing off-field troubles. The same problem means that they will not be able to sign any players, unless there is a drastic change in ownership very soon.
The latest report that the quickest an exchange can be complete could be up to two months but that is if everything goes swimmingly. And with the luck the Blues have had recently, it would be unwise to bet on that happening.
So those in power must plan accordingly and one fortunate facet of Chelsea at the moment is their esteemed youth academy, which has been churning out top talents for years. Last year, they let several of these players go who have gone on to make a name for themselves, including Marc Guehi and Tino Livramento, while Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja have impressed on loan.
Another player who has wowed coaches on a temporary stint away from the club is Levi Colwill, who is making waves in the Championship. The left-sided centre-back has been an integral part of the Terriers this season, who are enjoying a fine campaign as a result.
It had been a dark couple of years since their relegation from the Premier League in 2019, battling to stay in the second-tier of English football. But coach Carlos Coberan has inspired them this year and they are hopeful of going up via the play-offs.
And much of that would not have been possible if not for the prowess of Colwill in defence. Despite being just 19, the youngster has made 25 appearances this year and has looked a force to be reckoned with.
Huddersfield head of development Leigh Bromby has been left awestruck by the defender, saying: “He has been excellent and is not only a credit to himself but Chelsea, with the way they work with players and prepare them. The way he has fit into the dressing room has been unbelievable.
“The players and staff really like him and love working with him. He’s looking to improve and working to get better. Talent-wise, for his age, he is the best I’ve seen when I’ve either been playing or coaching. The chances, for me, are so high that he will go back and play for Chelsea and England.”
It is no surprise to hear that Thomas Tuchel is keen to get a look at Colwill over the summer and he could be brought into the first-team fold, much like Trevor Chalobah last year.
His position means that the departure of Rudiger, which will no doubt be a huge blow to the Blues, can be covered as a left-footed defender. Only Malang Sarr has the same asset of Chelsea’s centre-backs but the Frenchman has looked shaky at times.
While Tuchel would prefer Rudiger to stay and let Colwill learn from the Germany international, it must be reassuring to know that having the youngster come back is the worst-case scenario. With the likes of Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta also out of contract, bringing in a defender will become a priority at Stamford Bridge.