Chelsea are keen to open talks with Antonio Rudiger over a new contract at Stamford Bridge, even though he has played only 45 minutes of football this season.

The 26-year-old has been plagued with injury in recent months, undergoing knee surgery towards the back end of last season, which ruled him out of the Europa League final win over Arsenal, before breaking down upon his short-lived return to the team with a hip injury.

Antonio Ruediger

Rudiger underwent further surgery to correct that problem last week and is expected to be ruled out until December. His poor injury record hasn't stopped from Chelsea from wanting to discuss fresh terms, though, with MailOnline Sport claiming that the club want to 'accelerate' talks.

The German has two years left on his current deal in west London, and it's claimed that the Blues hierarchy wish to tie down his long-term future in an attempt to ward off unwanted transfer speculation.

In his absence, head coach Frank Lampard has turned to youth - with Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma forging a successful partnership in the heart of central defence.

Andreas Christensen has also played a significant role in helping Chelsea firmly establish themselves in the top four, having previously been frozen out of the first team picture by former manager Maurizio Sarri.

Victor Osimhen,Fikayo Tomori,Kurt Zouma

However, ​Chelsea are still suffering defensively – conceding 17 goals in their 12 league games so far, including four during their scintillating Champions League draw with Ajax.

A return for ​Rudiger would likely see him restored to the starting lineup once he regains full fitness, with Tomori perhaps the best placed to keep his place as Lampard continues to focus on rewarding his younger charges.

There is no suggestion that a move is on the horizon for Rudiger if terms are not agreed, but with Premier League rivals Manchester City struggling for quality central defenders, the possibility of a big money move shouldn't be discounted - given the financial firepower of Pep Guardiola's side.