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Paul Merson feels Antonio Rudiger could receive a bad reception from Chelsea fans after deciding to leave the club.
The talented defender will leave the Blues at the end of the season having failed to agree a new deal and is expected to sign for Real Madrid.
‘Antonio Rudiger is the one player Chelsea couldn’t afford to lose, but he clearly didn’t love the club enough to stay,’ Merson told the Daily Star.
‘He is risking the wrath of the fans now because he is turning down a lot of money and leaving them in the lurch, but let’s be honest: it’s been on the cards for a long, long time.
‘I called this one months ago. I don’t think Rudiger ever had any intention of signing; not after he was frozen out by Frank Lampard.
‘I know plenty has changed since then. Thomas Tuchel came in, brought him back into the team, and they won the Champions League.’
Despite becoming a key player under Tuchel and Chelsea offering him a new contract, Rudiger is seeking a new challenge away from the Premier League.
Rudiger put in a near-faultless display in the 1-1 draw away to Manchester United on Thursday but Merson feels he could be in for a frosty reception from Blues fans when Chelsea next play at home to Wolves next Saturday.
‘But I think he had already made his mind up. His contract was already running down and other clubs would already have been expressing an interest,’ Merson continued.
‘You don’t wait all that time, refusing to sign, losing all that money you would have got by signing on improved terms, just to turn around and stay. It’s serious money he has turned down.
‘He would have been the most well-paid defender in the club’s history. But he doesn’t love the club, does he? Or he’d have stayed.
‘And he’s an unbelievable defender. Thiago Silva helps him, but I think he helps Thiago Silva as well. They are so good together in a three.
‘It will be interesting to see how the fans are going to be now when he plays at Stamford Bridge. I don’t see them being too happy with him.’
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Source: Metro Sport