Antonio Rudiger's agents seen holding transfer talks with Barcelona

Rudiger's agent is not cut and dry
Rudiger's agent is not cut and dry / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

The agents of Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger have been spotted holding talks with representatives from Barcelona in what has been touted as a 'secret' meeting.

Rudiger is out of contract in June and is highly likely to walk away from Stamford Bridge on a free transfer in the summer after Chelsea failed to match his ambition to become one of the club's highest-paid players, although money is not central to the decision.

The Germany international has been free to negotiate a pre-contract since January and discussions have inevitably taken place, with as many as 11 leading European sides predictably expressing an interest in landing a top-class defender on a free transfer.

On Thursday, footage obtained by Sky Sports showed Rudiger's agents meeting with Barça directors Mateu Alemany and Jordi Cruyff in what have been labelled as "secret negotiations" in the Catalan city.

The gathering allegedly took place the previous evening at a hotel and lasted for three hours.

However, sources have told 90min that the meeting - which was evidently held in public - wasn't 'secret', and that discussions are indeed ongoing with Barcelona and a number of other parties.

90min understands the 29-year-old is also awaiting the outcome of Chelsea's ongoing takeover auction in the hope that it might lead to an improved contract proposal from the new owners, but his representatives have continued to hold talks with some of Europe's foremost clubs nonetheless.

Indeed, some prospective Chelsea buyers have been in contact with Rudiger's representatives in the hope they can persuade him to stay, and the player feels the least he can do is listen as he does not want to leave on bad terms.

Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Manchester United are the other sides to have shown a serious interest in landing the central defender in the summer.

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