Chelsea is in a dilemma with Antonio Rudiger. The defender would run out of contract this summer, and he would be leaving on a free.
Over this season, there seemed like a shift toward him staying at the club, but then the sanctions that hit Roman Abramovich this year struck, and suddenly Chelsea has found themselves unable to sign off on any contacts.
That should have given other clubs the chance to make their deal definitively, but none of them have confirmed his signing. One interested team is Real Madrid, who love to hoover up big-name players on free transfers. But they have a dilemma of their own, as The Athletic has reported today.
Los Blancos are still trying to sign Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland. Until they have something concrete in place with one of them, they cannot offer anything substantial to Rudiger.
That might buy Chelsea the time they need to get a deal sorted out.