Chelsea are understood to be keen on bringing Stuttgart’s 22-year-old central defender Antonio Rudiger to west London, with the club prepared to pay £20m for a player who has already earned six senior caps for Germany.
With the Blues also reportedly weighing up a £30m bid for John Stones, Rudiger could represent a comparatively parsimonious alternative to the Everton youngster and the pair are a similar positions in their respective careers.
The German has amassed 47 top-flight appearances to Stones’ 46, while he has six caps for his country to the Englishman’s four.
Rudiger, who is an inch taller than the Everton man, is noted for his strength and speed at the heart of what has been a changeable and often besieged Stuttgart defence, while his reading of the game has arguably been the attribute that has accelerated his ascent into their first team.
However, Die Schwaben finished 2014/15 with the Bundelisga’s third-worst defence, with the Chelsea target starting on no less than 20 occasions.
Clearly the youngster is far from infallible and his concentration and decision making both let him down occasionally.
Needless to say the same criticism can be levelled at Stones, who was skinned by Odion Ighalo for Watford’s second goal on the season’s opening day.
Overall, Rudiger’s defensive statistics for the 2014/15 campaign suggest that he is operating at a similar level to the Englishman, for all the latter tends to score slightly better on almost all indicators.
For example Stones averaged 1.54 interceptions per 90 minutes to the German’s 1.01, while he won 63.44% of his aerial duels to the 22-year-old’s 53.77%.
In possession too the Everton youngster was more efficient, completing 90 per cent of his passes to Rudiger’s 83%.
The Stuttgart man may be slightly behind Stones in terms of development, but he is certainly not £10m less of a player and could make a useful signing.