Ralf Rangnick gives Man Utd clear advantage in race for Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger

Rangnick comments on Martial's Man Utd future amid exit talk

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Ralf Rangnick could hold the key to Manchester United’s chances of signing Chelsea star Antonino Rudiger, according to reports. Rudiger’s Chelsea contract is set to expire on July 1 and the German defender is fielding interest in his services from all over Europe.

The Blues are currently facing a contractual crisis in defence where Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen are entering the last six months of their deals.

Rudiger is the most high profile of those players, considering his brilliant form since Thomas Tuchel took over as manager in January.

The 28-year-old came close to leaving the club last year after falling down the pecking order under Frank Lampard but has been revitalised by Tuchel’s management.

He has made 21 appearances so far this season and his performances have attracted the attention of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.

A new club has entered the frame in recent days, too, with United reportedly keeping an eye on Rudiger’s situation.

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Sky Deutschland reports that Rangnick is interested in the Germany international, despite the club signing Raphael Varane in the summer to address their defensive needs.

Rangnick could give them an advantage over their rivals as well because of his personal relationship with Rudiger’s brother and agent, Sahr Senesie.

That is according to BILD journalist Christian Faulk, who says Senesie has ‘signaled willingness to negotiate’ in recent days.

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Chelsea are trying to persuade Rudiger to stay at Stamford Bridge, where he has played since joining from Roma in 2017.

But the sticking point is money, with Rudiger having already rejected Chelsea’s opening offer of £140,000 a week.

The Guardian says the defender is currently on £90,000 per week at the moment and is pushing for an increase to around £200,000.

There has reportedly not been a breakdown in relationships between the two parties, but Chelsea’s reluctance to come back with an improved offer has opened the door for others.

Real Madrid are at the front of the queue, according to the Guardian, while Bayern Munich have a longstanding interest in Rudiger.

United currently have Varane, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones on the books as senior centre-backs, while Nemanja Matic played there in the 1-1 draw against AC Milan last week.

The club are thought to be prioritising a move for a defensive midfielder in the New Year, with Rangnick’s connections to RB Leipzig sparking rumours of interest in Amadou Haidara.

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