Date: 1st December 2021 at 7:13pm
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Chelsea travel to Watford on Wednesday evening knowing that a victory will keep them top of the Premier League table. 

The Blues have started the season very strongly having lost just once in the opening 13 games of the season, and will be confident of maintaining their lead at the top of the table against a Watford side who have struggled on their return to the top flight.

Thomas Tuchel’s side’s success can largely be credited to their outstanding defensive record, now synonymous with the German.

Since the start of the season, Chelsea have only conceded three goals from open play in the league, keeping eight clean sheets in 13 games so far.

Despite their almost impeccable start to the campaign, Tuchel has had one problem to contend with, as four of his senior defenders are set to be out of contract at the end of the season.

Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, veteran defender Thiago Silva and academy graduate Andreas Christensen are all set to be available for free in July, although the club are believed to be working hard on securing the players’ futures.

Tuchel has various Chelsea players coming to the end of their contracts.

Now, another of the club’s soon-to-be out of contract stars is being linked with a move elsewhere.

Tuchel’s fellow countryman Antonio Rudiger, who has been imperious for the club in recent months, is believed to be a target for Real Madrid, as per Goal.

The report even suggests that the Spanish side are ‘optimistic’ of completing a deal for the German international, who has featured in all but one of the Blues’ Premier League matches so far this term.

It is suggested that Madrid will prioritise the 28-year-old as they look to solidify their leaky defence, with Sergio Ramos having departed over the summer.

Rudiger joined Chelsea from Roma in 2017 for a fee of around £31.5 million, and has since made over 110 appearances for the club, as well as winning the Champions League, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and FA Cup.

The defender has rebuffed several offers from his current employers to extend his stay in West London, and it is believed that he is not happy with being paid less than some of the club’s fringe players including Kepa Arrizabalaga and Marcos Alonso.

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