Paul Merson says Antonio Rudiger will be a ‘massive miss’ at next season and doubts Kalidou Koulibaly and Jules Kounde are suitable replacements for the new defender.
Rudiger , signing a four-year deal at Real Madrid after joining the club on a free transfer.
Chelsea and attempted to convince Rudiger to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge but the German decided to end his five-year association with the Premier League side.
Rudiger made more than 200 appearances for the Blues and helped Chelsea win the , Europa League, FA Cup, Club World Cup and Super Cup.
Arsenal legend Paul Merson says Rudiger’s departure is a major ‘worry’ for Chelsea going into the 2022-23 season and has questioned whether Koulibaly and Kounde can ‘fill his boots’.
Tuchel is keen to sign a new central defender to replace Rudiger and the outgoing Andreas Christensen, with Chelsea .
‘Antonio Rudiger’s been absolutely outstanding for Chelsea. I can’t remember him having a bad game if I’m being honest,’ Merson told .
‘He’s been consistently brilliant in the Premier League this season. Rudiger’s going to be a massive miss for Thomas Tuchel next season.
‘He’s going to be a hard one to replace, and I’m not sure if the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Jules Kounde can fill his boots. If there is a worry for Chelsea this year, it’s finding Rudiger’s replacement.’
Merson has also discussed Romelu Lukaku’s future at Chelsea as the Belgian striker .
Chelsea spent almost £100m to sign Lukaku from Inter Milan last year but the 29-year-old endured a miserable season and a move may benefit both parties.
‘Lukaku has been disappointing all season,’ Merson added. ‘He started well against Arsenal and we all thought, “Okay, here we go!” We haven’t seen him do that again since – he just never got going.
‘If Chelsea can get their £100 million or anywhere near that amount back for him this summer, they’ll sell him. A loan would be of no use to anybody – it wouldn’t help Thomas Tuchel one bit.’
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