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A massive loss – Paul Merson reacts as Chelsea star finally confirm his leaving Stamford Bridge

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Paul Merson, Hasselbaink make top four predictions after Chelsea and Man United defeats

Paul Merson has warned that Antonio Rudiger’s exit will be a “massive loss” for Chelsea FC next season.The German defender is expected to leave the Blues and sign for Real Madrid this summer, with his current contract with the south west London side set to expire at the end of the season.

Rudiger has been a constant fixture in the Chelsea FC team since having signed for the Blues from AS Roma back in the summer of 2017.

The centre-half has won the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League during his time with the Blues and has started 30 of Chelsea FC’s 34 games in the Premier League this season.

Chelsea FC are currently operating under the restrictions placed on them by the British government, meaning that their transfer activity is currently on hold.

Former Arsenal and England star Merson has warned that the loss of Rudiger this summer will be a huge blow to the Blues, who are also expected to see fellow defender Andreas Christensen leave on a free transfer.

Writing in his column for Sky Sports, Merson said: “Chelsea need bodies at the back.

“Antonio Rudiger’s gone on a free, Andreas Christensen’s going to go too, they’ve got Thiago Silva who’s outstanding, and they’ve got two kids in Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah who are very talented, but it’s going to be hard to play them week-in, week-out.

“Rudiger will be a massive loss, I can’t express how big that’s going to be. If they played a four at the back, he wouldn’t be missed.

“He can only go and play somewhere in a three, for me, he reminds me of a David Luiz – he’ll go and chase the ball, close down, go out of position – but in a three he can go and take that chance.”

Merson also said that he expects the Blues to stick with striker Romelu Lukaku despite his patchy form this season.

“Chelsea haven’t got much choice but to keep going with Lukaku,” he added. “They’re getting sold, they haven’t got any money, they can’t be buying people for £100m and selling them for half that. That ain’t happening.

“For me, I think he’ll be staying there, and hopefully he kicks on next season.”

Chelsea FC, who lost 1-0 to Everton last weekend, will return to action on Saturday when they host Wolves at Stamford Bridge.

As things stand, Thomas Tuchel’s side are third in the table and three points ahead of fourth-placed Arsenal with four games left to play this season.

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