• Chelsea were held at a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford Thursday
  • Antonio Rudiger is set to leave Chelsea in the summer
  • He is close to joining Real Madrid on a three-year deal

Chelsea have reportedly identified a young defender as a replacement for departing center-back Antonio Rudiger.

Rudiger’s current contract with Chelsea is set to expire in the summer and the club has confirmed that the German defender has decided to part ways. The Blues are aiming to sign Villarreal's Pau Torres as Rudiger’s replacement during the 2022 window, reported Spanish, La Razon.

Apart from Rudiger, another center-back Andreas Christensen and club captain César Azpilicueta will also be without a deal at the end of the season. And both the defenders are heavily linked with La Liga giants FC Barcelona.

Rudiger is set to join Real Madrid as a free agent ahead of the 2022-23 campaign and the club is looking to offer the center-back a three-year deal, according to Fabrizio Romano, who has a credible record in the European transfer market. There is no announcement yet but according to the Italian journalist, Rudiger’s move is set to become official soon in the coming days.

It was earlier reported that Rudiger, who shares a fine bond with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, informed the German manager in person and the latter sure appreciated the gesture.

Meanwhile, Villarreal defender Torres has impressed various top clubs over the last couple of years and Manchester City and Manchester United are chasing him ahead of the summer window.

The 25-year-old Spaniard is contracted with Villarreal until 2024 and has a release of around $58-63 million, according to Romano.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Reece James is also on the radar of a few clubs. The right-back is contracted with the Stamford Bridge side until 2025. While Chelsea may not lose him this summer but Real Madrid are looking to land the English defender in the 2023 summer transfer market, according to Goal.

Pau Torres of Villarreal CF
Pau Torres of Villarreal CF Getty Images | Aitor Alcalde Colomer

On Thursday, Chelsea were held at a 1-1 draw by Manchester United in the Premier League. The Blues are placed second in the league table with 66 points in 33 games with five more matches remaining in the 2021-22 season.