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Barcelona hold secret contract talks for Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger

Barcelona held secret contract talks with the agent of Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger on Wednesday, Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg reports.

The German has been a key player at the heart of the defence for the Blues, but seems likely to head for the exit door when his contract expires in June.

He has been linked with several high-profile clubs including Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, but it now appears the Blaugrana are leading the race.

On Wednesday, Rudiger’s agent and brother Sahr Senesie held a meeting with Blaugrana chiefs Mateu Alemany and Jordi Cruyff in a Barcelona hotel (video proof).

The appointment lasted for three hours and it could be an indication that the Catalan giants are keen on pursuing the Germany international on a free transfer.

Barcelona have been busy in negotiating pre-contract deals, and they have already finalised moves for AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen.

The club also have their sights on landing Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta whose contract also expires in June. Hence, they are eyeing a triple swoop from the London club.

This will be a big blow for Thomas Tuchel’s side, but should shore up the Blaugrana defence. The trio have been the defensive mainstays for the reigning European champions.

Should all three defenders join this summer, the La Liga club may need to compensate with exits. Right-back Sergi Roberto could leave when his contract expires in three months.

Meanwhile, Samuel Umtiti, Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet could be among the central defenders at risk of being sold or loaned out during the next transfer window.

There are also doubts over the future of Ronald Araujo. The Uruguayan has yet to commit his future beyond next season amid big differences over the salary package.

Should the contract stand-off extend until the off-season, a summer departure could be realistic. Arsenal and Manchester United are among clubs keeping tabs on him.

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