Chelsea are fighting a losing battle to keep Antonio Rudiger at Stamford Bridge beyond the summer of 2022, with the defender reportedly set to join Real Madrid on a free transfer. The Germany international has just seven months remaining on his current deal, and is yet to accept the Blues' offer of a new long-term contract.

The Spanish giants have made Rudiger their top target to replace Sergio Ramos, who joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer during this summer's transfer window. Real have reportedly reached an informal agreement with the player and his representative with regards to a move to the Santiago Bernabeu next summer.

According to The Independent, Rudiger's brother and agent Sahr Senesie met with Real officials a few weeks ago to discuss the Chelsea defender's free transfer to the Spanish capital next summer. An informal agreement has been reached between the two parties, but nothing has been signed to make it official.

Rudiger can officially open talks with clubs outside England when the winter transfer window opens in January, and Chelsea are running out of time to make a fresh offer to ensure the German defender remains at Stamford Bridge beyond next June. The 28-year-old does have more lucrative offers from clubs outside England, which as it stands will be his preferred choice.

Bayern Munich are also keen to sign Rudiger and have made contact with Senesie about a potential move to the Allianz Arena. The Bavarian giants have also met with the Chelsea star's agent, but talks are not thought to be as advanced with them as it is with their European rivals Real.

Rudiger has also attracted interest from the Premier League with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur monitoring the situation, but the 2021 Champions League winner is expected to move abroad if he decides to leave the west London club. It will come as a big blow to Thomas Tuchel, who has revived the defender's career at Chelsea, after he had fallen out of favour under former manager Frank Lampard.

"The situation is the situation. We want him to stay, this is very clear and he knows it," Tuchel said last month. "But sometimes in these situations, there is a certain delay and, obviously, there is a delay in these talks and his decision."

Antonio Rudiger
Chelsea's German defender Antonio Rudiger, pictured in early December, says he hopes the offenders will be identified and punished Glyn KIRK/AFP