Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has not ruled out Antonio Rudiger or Callum Hudson-Odoi leaving the club before the transfer deadline on 5 October, admitting he is ‘very open’ to having conversations with the players over the next two weeks.
Rudiger is into the final two years of his Chelsea contract and has been out of favour at the start of the new season, playing neither Premier League game so far despite finishing 2019/20 in the team. Hudson-Odoi, meanwhile, has seen increased competition for attacking places this summer.
Hudson-Odoi in particular has recently been linked with Bayern Munich, who offered up to £35m for him in January 2019, and Manchester United as an alternative to Jadon Sancho.
90min’s Tom Gott has backed the idea of selling Rudiger and prioritising home-grown centre-back Fikayo Tomori, who had earlier been expected to join Everton on loan this season.
Lampard was asked about either player leaving before the upcoming deadline early next month ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup tie against Barnsley.
“I’m going to skirt around that question. It remains to be seen,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph, not giving a definitive answer but refusing to rule it out.
“I’m very open to those conversations with the players as the next couple of weeks go on. My priority will always be making sure I maintain and keep the strongest squad I can for this club but after that, of course, the individual conversations will happen within that,” he elaborated.
“I will try and make sure I go into the season once the window shuts with the squad that I feel is competitive in a healthy way.”
For Hudson-Odoi, the importance of squad depth means he will start Wednesday night’s clash with Barnsley in light of injuries to Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic. Whether he is unwilling to accept a backup role or is prepared to step up to the challenge to fight for a place is an important question.