Antonio Rudiger's latest comments could indicate that Thomas Tuchel will have a major role to play in convincing him to sign a new deal with Chelsea. The German defender has confirmed that he was close to leaving the Blues in the summer of 2020, but changed his mind after Frank Lampard was replaced by Tuchel in January this year.

The 28-year-old currently has just over six months remaining on his deal and will be allowed to talk to interested clubs when the winter transfer window opens in January with Real Madrid leading the race. Chelsea are keen to keep him beyond the summer of 2022 and have been in talks with Rudiger's brother and agent Sahr Senesie with regards to a new deal.

Rudiger had fallen out of favour under Lampard, but has emerged as a key player under Tuchel, playing a key role in Chelsea's Champions League triumph last season. He is a regular starter under the German manager, and they are hoping temptation of regular football and the opportunity to challenge for the biggest trophies will convince Rudiger to stay at the club.

"Yeah [I was close to leaving], the way things were going for myself but also for the team," Rudiger told Sky Sports. "But in the winter period I was not keen to leave, to be honest. It was more in the summer period where I wanted to leave."

"But Thomas Tuchel came and the rest is history. He opened a new door... he played a big role," the Blues star added.

It is clear that Tuchel will have a big role to play in convincing Rudiger. However, Chelsea's latest offer is said to be far from what the player and his agent are demanding, which has seen Real move into pole position to land the defender on a free transfer next summer.

While nothing is signed yet, multiple reports have claimed that Rudiger has reached an informal agreement with the Santiago Bernabeu outfit with regards to a move to the Spanish capital next summer. Real are not the only interested suitors, with Manchester United and Bayern Munich also expected to make offers if he enters the January transfer window with just six months remaining on his deal.

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