Real Madrid are desperate to fill the void left by Raphael Varane's move to Manchester United and Sergio Ramos' switch to Paris Saint-Germain. Carlo Ancelotti is not happy with his current defensive options and is looking for an experienced player to partner summer arrival David Alaba at the heart of Los Blancos' defense.

Chelsea center-back Antonio Rudiger has emerged as the La Liga giants' number one target with Ancelotti keen to bring the German to the Santiago Bernabeu. The 28-year-old is out of contract next summer and is yet to agree an extension with the Blues despite holding talks in recent weeks.

According to Spanish publication Marca, Real are keen to take advantage of the situation and open talks with the player's representatives when the winter transfer window opens in January. Rudiger will be able to hold talks with clubs outside England and agree a pre-contract for next summer.

Rudiger's experience is not the only attraction for the Spanish capital club. The fact that they can save a big amount on transfer fees, and sign him for free is also another major attraction. Real are mindful of their finances, and they have been playing smart in the transfer market.

The Spanish giants took a similar route to sign David Alaba from Bayern Munich on a free transfer after the defender failed to agree a new deal with the German giants last season. He signed a pre-contract with the La Liga club and joined them once his contract with Bayern expired in July.

Chelsea are keen to retain Rudiger, who has become a vital member of Thomas Tuchel's first-team squad. However, their latest offer of a new contract worth £125,000-a-week has been turned down by Rudiger and his representatives.

The Germany international will not be short of suitors if he decides to leave Stamford Bridge next summer with the likes of AC Milan, Juventus and Bayern also interested in signing him on a free transfer. Rudiger is expected to keep his options open and assess every offer before deciding whether to stay in England or seek pastures new.

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