Chelsea FC are strong contenders for the Premier League this season, thanks to their formidable defense. Chelsea sold Kurt Zouma in the summer but another academy graduate Chalobah has stepped up to fill the void. But Chelsea have a few headaches when it comes to the contracts of their center-backs. Three of their most experienced central defenders will be free agents in 2022 unless they sign a new deal. In this article, we will look at Chelsea’s free agents in 2022 and decide whether to let them go or not.
#5 Danny Drinkwater
A typical Conte signing, Drinkwater arrived at Stamford Bridge to little fanfare. Since Conte left, he has just made a single appearance in all competitions for Chelsea. Chelsea have sent him on multiple loan spells and it is difficult to see them offering Drinkwater a new contract. It is not all doom and gloom for Drinkwater as many Championship clubs will be interested in his signature because due to his success with Leicester City.
#4 Thiago Silva
When Thiago Silva left PSG to join Chelsea, many saw it as a stop-gap deal and nothing more. After an error-prone beginning to his Chelsea career, Silva has firmly established himself as one of the Premier League’s top central defenders. Even during the twilight of his career, Silva still commands the penalty box with such composure and authority.
One could argue that Silva has to retire someday, and that day is not far away. An injury or two at this age can really decide the fate of a player. Hence, offering him another extension might not be the smartest thing to do. However, Chelsea will miss his experience badly if Rudiger leaves the club.
#3 Cezar Azpilicueta
No individual in the Chelsea dressing room is more respected than Azpilicueta who is known for being a complete team-man. Azpilicueta is currently enjoying his tenth season at Chelsea and can carry on for another 2-3 seasons. Although Tuchel initially stuck with Azpilicueta in the right wing-back position, Reece James’ growth cannot be overlooked.
James’ skill-set is more suited to modern football, and he has also shown the ability to play as a center-back. Thus Azpilicueta might not get regular playing time and this could indeed result in a move to another club in the summer.
#2 Andreas Christensen
Christensen’s contract dispute with Chelsea is currently dominating the headlines due to a variety of reasons. Firstly, Tuchel confirmed a few weeks back that all is well, and he is set to sign a new contract. Christensen loves the club and he wants to stay, but his demands have not been met by Chelsea so far.
Also, he has been dragging the negotiations rather unnecessarily, which has resulted in criticism from Tuchel. The German has benched him for the last few games, and it seems Chelsea really want to push Christensen into signing a new contract. This strategy could very well backfire and Christensen might end up leaving in January.
#1 Antonio Rudiger
Rudiger has re-invented himself in style under Tuchel and has the highest probability of staying among Chelsea’s free agents in 2022. Rudiger’s no-holds-barred defending has made him a fan favorite and all signs point to a contract extension. Rudiger is at his physical peak and Chelsea will be more than happy to have his services for the next few years.
But rumors have been circulating about potential interest from Real Madrid. There are also reports that it is Rudiger’s dream to play at the Santiago Bernabéu, which is common for any footballer. Real Madrid are a defender short, but they are still firmly focused on signing Mbappé. Also, with Militao and Alaba settling well, Rudiger might find it tough to start regularly.