Premier League champions Chelsea look to be on the brink of completing a savvy bit of business with reports that the club are about to finalise a deal for highly-rated Roma defender Antonio Rüdiger.
However, with all the top clubs all looking to complete a flurry of big money signings this summer, you could be forgiven for losing track of some major transfers.
The Blues are expected to announce the signing of the young German international in the coming days and in honour of his arrival, here’s 6 things you should know about the seemingly soon to be Premier League star…
6. He Was Instrumental in Germany’s Confederations Cup Triumph
Germany claimed their first Confederations Cup on Sunday, beating Copa America winners Chile 1-0 in St. Petersburg.
Rüdiger was imperious as the Germans withstood long periods of Chile pressure, with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez unable to find a way through, despite his best efforts.
Rüdiger was presented with the Under-19 Fritz Walter Medal in 2012, which honours Germany’s most promising young talents. Since then he has played for Germany at every level, breaking into the first team in 2014, establishing himself as consistent presence in Joachim Low’s youth-oriented side.
5. He Almost Signed for Chelsea Last Year
Antonio Conte is said to have been an admirer of Rüdiger for some time and reportedly lined him up as a transfer target for his future employers whilst he was still managing the Italian national team.
However, the move was scrapped after the Roma centre-back was ruled out of the Euro 2016 Championships with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
With the Berliner unable to complete a medical, Conte moved for the experience of David Luiz. But with the young German’s best years ahead of him, coupled with John Terry’s departure leaving a chasm in Chelsea defensive options, Rüdiger may prove an important addition to the Blues.
4. He Would Become the Third Most Expensive German Player in PL History
Money appears to be no object for the Premier League champions this summer, with the Blues apparently set to confirm the signings of Rüdiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko as well as being consistently linked with a big money move for former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.
However, Rüdiger won’t come cheap. Reports suggest that Chelsea may have agreed to part with over £33m, after Roma signed the young defender from Stuttgart for just £7.6m in 2015.
After Mesut Ozil and Leroy Sane, Rudiger is likely to be the third most expensive transfer of a German player to the Premier League.
3. He’s Known for His Superb Passing
Much of Chelsea’s success last season relied on the ability of the middle of the three centre-backs – normally David Luiz – to operate in a libero-like role, collecting the ball from deep and distributing the ball long into dangerous areas.
Despite soldiering on, Luiz never seemed to fully recover from an knee injury he sustained during Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Man City in December, and Conte will know his side need capable distributors should Luiz be sidelined next season.
The stats suggest the former VfB Stuttgart star has more than enough in his locker on that front, completing more long balls (185) than any other Roma defender in Serie A since 2015/16*
*Data by Squawka.
2. He’s Been Ever-Present for Roma Since He Joined
Rüdiger has made a staggering 72 appearances for Roma since 2015, despite competing with the likes of Kostas Manolas and Federico Fazio for a place in the side, with I Giallorossi finishing runners in Serie A last season.
He featured as both a right and left-sided centre-back for his club last season and could challenge either Gary Cahill for his place on the left side or David Luiz in the middle, with Cesar Azpilicueta unlikely to be ousted from his position on the right.
1. He’s Well Equipped to Deal with the Physicality of the Premier League
Rüdiger has made a name for himself as a tough tackler and won’t be shocked by the physicality of the Premier League after two seasons of tussles with Serie A’s toughest defenders.
Pundits have conceded that Rüdiger’s performances this season justify the interest in him, with sportswriter Lars Pollmann tweeting: ‘Rudiger was solid for Roma this season and has elite athleticism. That seems to be worth a lot of money these days.’