Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Antonio Rudiger will leave the club at the end of the season.
The German’s contract at the London club expires at the end of the season, and discussions to sign a new contract face a hurdle.
The uncertainty surrounding club ownership is said to be one of the reasons the defender left.
Speaking to Sky Sports after Chelsea’s 1-0 win over West Ham, the Blues boss Tuchel confirmed: “The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He told me about it in a private conversation.
“We gave everything – me and the club – but we couldn’t fight anymore because of the procedures. Without the penalties we would at least have been able to keep fighting, but our hands are tied. We don’t take it personally. It’s his decision.
“He’s a major character and he’s going to stay that way until the end of the season. But he’s frustrating. We’ll miss him so much. He gives courage in the dressing room.
“The kind that everyone dreads, but the kind who plays 50-55 games at a fantastic level. He’s a great defender in the last year and a half for me. Then we need to find another solution.”
Real Madrid is leading the race to sign the defender, although he has attracted the interest of a number of other European giants including Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
Rudiger arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2017 from Roma on a five-year contract and won five titles during that time, including the Champions League.