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Five defenders Chelsea could sign to replace Rudiger including Kounde and Szalai as Real Madrid close in on centre-back

CHELSEA are still sweating over the future of Antonio Rudiger.

The German, 28, is yet to sign a new deal and has attracted attention from Europe's elite, most notably Real Madrid.

Cesar Azpilicueta, 32, Thiago Silva, 37, and Andreas Christensen, 25, are also defenders Chelsea face losing for nothing unless contract extensions are agreed.

The Blues are said to be prepared to offer all four new deals, but it will not stop them from scouting out alternatives.

Here, SunSport runs down five centre-back options for Chelsea.

Jules Kounde

Frenchman Kounde, 23, looked all set for a move to Stamford Bridge in the summer and is believed to have agreed personal terms.

But, after Chelsea sold Kurt Zouma, 27, to accommodate the move, Sevilla raised the price tag to £60million at the last minute, opposed to the original £43m.

That is said to have caused Chelsea to pull out of the deal, which in turn paved the way for 22-year-old Trevoh Chalobah's emergence in the squad.

Attila Szalai

Fenerbahce's Szalai, 23, has emerged as a cut-price alternative option at the back for the Blues.

And speculation from Turkey has even claimed Chelsea have agreed a deal of £20m to sign the defender in the winter window.

Szalai has won 21 caps since making his senior international debut for Hungary in 2019.

Marquinhos

Chelsea were last summer linked to the Brazilian, 27, who is the current PSG captain.

And despite reportedly being prepared to pay up to £86m for Marquinhos, neither the player or PSG appeared interested in the deal.

But that is not to say Chelsea would not try their luck again, especially as Marquinhos could be deemed the perfect successor to former team-mate Silva.

Niklas Sule

Earlier in the year, German Sule, 26, was rumoured to be a target Chelsea were considering signing in the summer.

Since then, he is yet to sign a new Bayern Munich deal, which is set to expire at the end of this season.

It means Chelsea could be cleared to negotiate a free transfer with Sule as soon as next month, with Newcastle also linked with the defender.

Pau Torres

Villarreal's Torres, 24, was close to a move to London in the summer, but with Chelsea's rivals Tottenham.

And already the defender could be a favourite amongst Blues fans after turning down Spurs.

He is said to have been a name shortlisted on Chelsea's defensive targets in the past and is believed to have a £56m release clause in his contract.