Antonio Rudiger leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid is Frank Lampard’s fault, says Paul Merson
In his latest column, Paul Merson explains why Antonio Rudiger’s exit from Chelsea is actually Frank Lampard’s fault.
Losing Rudiger to Real Madrid is going to break Chelsea’s heart – but his mind was made up 18 months ago with the way he was treated by Lampard.
He got completely binned out the team by Lampard and I think that left a lasting effect on Rudiger. That’s when he decided that he’s not signing a new contract.
Years ago, if Real Madrid and Barcelona came calling then you went. I don’t see that anymore. Chelsea are as good as Real Madrid, you can see that in the Champions League quarter-final. The Blues had a bad 45 minutes but apart from that, they were a far superior team to Real Madrid.
Now Chelsea are letting a £70m-80m defender go on a free transfer and they’re going to bring someone in for £70m who will be nowhere as good as Rudiger.
They’re going to have to strengthen in defence as Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are going to leave. I like Trevoh Chalobah but they play three at the back so they’ll need to bring in another defender.
Even though Kai Havertz is Chelsea’s best player with Mason Mount, and someone they can build a team around, they still need a forward.
I’m not saying it won’t work with Romelu Lukaku but he needs to get it together and make his mind up that he’s staying.
In my opinion, his agent would never say something like what he said this week about discussing his future this summer if he hasn’t been told something by Lukaku. If I had an agent and he started saying something that I never said to him, I’d be getting rid of him tomorrow morning. For me, it’s an easy way for Lukaku to get something out there without him saying it himself.
He wants to be at a great club and I don’t see why he can’t go on and score a load of goals. But he can’t have a season like he did this season for £100m.
Manchester City’s result at West Ham was a massive point, now they have to beat Aston Villa at home on the last day of the season – and you would take that a million times out of a million. All you have to ask for at the end of the title race is for it to be in your hands and you’re at home.
That point was huge in the end, absolutely huge. For me, Manchester City win the Premier League.
But what a race – with these two teams, it’s been constant. If you drop a point, that’s it. Liverpool dropped a point against Tottenham and that was good night, even with three games to go. That Tottenham game was always going to be the banana skin, they did the double over City after all.
I don’t know what else Liverpool could have done. They’ve won two finals, they’re in another final and they’re going to take the Premier League season to the final game.
The hardest thing in the world is trying to win the league, it’s 38 games over nine months. But to win two cup competitions, be in the title race until the final week of the season and also be in the ultimate European final, there’s no better feat.
To do what they’ve done in the league over nine months in all competitions is just mind-blowing – and they haven’t got the biggest squad.
No disrespect but you’re bringing on James Milner in the FA Cup final. He’s 37, it’s not like bringing Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva or Riyad Mahrez on. The gulf between the two squads is scary, so for Liverpool to do what they’ve done is even more unbelievable.
If I had to pick which camp I’d rather be in out of the relegation candidates, it’d be Leeds because of that point against Brighton – one that I think will keep them up.
I was covering their game on Sunday and Pascal Struijk’s late equaliser was a massive goal for them. They were out of it in the first half and Brighton were a much better team.
On Thursday, Burnley go to Aston Villa who are playing their last home game of the season. You’ve got to give the fans optimism on the last home game so Villa will be the biggest triers in the world on Thursday night.
Steven Gerrard will not want 40,000 pe