West Ham are prepared to compete with Europe’s giants for the signature of highly rated VfB Stuttgart defender Antonio Rudiger, according to the Daily Express.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus, Bayern Munich and AS Monaco are all said to be in the race to sign the centre-back, but that hasn’t dissuaded the Hammers.
The 21-year-old was a subject of interest at West Ham in the summer – they lodged a bid of up to £8 million – and it is understood manager Sam Allardyce will renew his interest during the January transfer window.
With a vast amount of the ‘big boys’ across Europe chasing the Germany international it would be a major coup if the Irons could snatch him from under their noses.
Rudiger is regarded as one of the brightest defensive talents around and there is not many others emerging at the moment, which is why so many clubs are looking to acquire his services.
The 6ft 3in defender made his international debut for the world champions against Poland back in May and has featured in all seven of Stuttgart’s matches this season, although they have won only one of those games.
The German outfit, who rejected bids from both West Ham and Monaco in the summer, will struggle to hold on to the star for much longer. Rudiger still has three years left on his current contract, so big bucks will be needed to tempt Stuttgart to cash in.
Premier League bound?
The Hammer could well be priced out of a move but Rudiger, who is fully aware of all the interest that is being shown in him, has admitted that a move to the Premier League would be a dream come true.
He told reporters: “Of course I am aware of the interest from Manchester United.
“They are definitely one of the top clubs in Europe and they are in a league I have been dreaming of. The Premier League is very physical, intense, breathtaking and with a lot of goals.
“My focus, though, remains on playing for Stuttgart. For now, I just have to try and progress as a player.”
The Irons could guarantee the defender first-team football as they lack quality and depth in the centre-back position. James Tomkins and James Collins aren’t quite top level standard and Winston Reid would benefit from having a strong, consistent player alongside him that he could build a solid partnership with at the back.
Rudiger would definitely provide that and give the Hammers a much more stable look to their defence. However Manchester United, who are going through somewhat of a defensive crisis, would also be able to offer him first-team football as well as a huge pay cheque.
Chelsea certainly don’t need the defender and he would struggle to break into their side this season, but they are more than capable of luring him to Stamford Bridge. Out of his Premier League options the Red Devils are probably his most likely destination, though, unless Allardyce can pull off something spectacular.