Exclusive - Chelsea have turned down loan bids from Barcelona and PSG for Antonio Rudiger because the German has refused to sign a contract extension.
Rudiger was once regarded as the Blues' first-choice central defender, but his future at the club has been called into question after falling out of favour with head coach Frank Lampard.
Thiago Silva has arrived on a free transfer this summer, and Rudiger also has Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori contending for a starting berth.
With speculation rife, it's 90min's understanding that Barcelona and PSG were quick to approach Chelsea with loan bids once they learned of his potential availability. However, the Blues have rejected both offers – but only because the player has refused to extend his Stamford Bridge contract, not because they're against the idea of him leaving.
Neighbourhood rivals Tottenham have also been linked with a surprise move, but a source has told 90min that Daniel Levy has made it clear to Chelsea that they have not shown an interest.
West Ham and Fulham are two other clubs interested in taking Rudiger on loan, but it remains to be seen whether he would be allowed to join another Premier League side.
Rudiger's contract at Stamford Bridge expires in the summer of 2022 and Chelsea were insistent that he sign an extension to protect his market value. But the former VfB Stuttgart and Roma defender doesn't see a future for himself under Lampard and is not willing to pen fresh terms if the purpose of doing so is to facilitate an eventual exit from west London.
The 27-year-old's potential departure is somewhat surprising because of the role Rudiger played in persuading both Timo Werner and Kai Havertz to join Chelsea this summer. Indeed, the defender's demotion from the first team has caught him by surprise, as he worked closely with Lampard in getting those moves over the line.
Rudiger had been expected to play a part in Chelsea's Carabao Cup tie with Tottenham, but the German was omitted from Lampard's squad. Instead, Zouma and Tomori were paired together in central defence, perhaps an indication that a departure is indeed in the offing.