Chelsea: Who is Antonio Rudiger, the £34 Million Defender Antonio Conte is Signing?

Antonio Rudiger
Antonio Rudiger at Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia, July 2. Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty

Chelsea has agreed a fee of £30.7 million ($39.7 million) plus £3.5 million in add-ons with Roma for German defender Antonio Rudiger, according to reports.

Rudiger, who played a key role in Germany's Confederation's Cup triumph last week, is in talks with the Premier League champion before completing the move, the Daily Mail says.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is keen to strengthen his squad ahead of its title defense, as well as competing in next season's Champions League. Conte had reportedly wanted Virgil van Dijk, of Southampton, and Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci.

But it's Rudiger who looks to be on his way from Roma. The report in the Mail says that the 24-year-old from Berlin wanted to leave Serie A and Italian football due to repeated instances of racism.

He was the subject of racist chanting during the Rome derby against Lazio in March, which was followed by Lazio defender Senad Lucic saying: "Two years ago, [Rudiger] was selling socks and belts in Stuttgart. Now, he acts like he's some phenomenon."

Related: How Will Antonio Conte's New-Look Chelsea Team Line-Up Next Season?

Conte will be pleased to see him joining Chelsea because the Italian manager knows him from his three years as Juventus boss, between 2011 and 2014.

At that time, Rudiger, who can play at right back as well as in the center, was playing for Stuttgart in the Bundesliga after progressing through the club's academy.

He spent four years at the Mercedes-Benz Arena before moving to Roma, initially on a loan deal before completing a permanent deal in May last year for nine million euros (about £8m/$10m).

Rudiger played a key role in the Roma team in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 season but is now reportedly ready to leave due to the abuse.

He represented Germany from the U18 level through to the first team, where he has won 17 caps that included the Confederations Cup winning campaign. Rudiger was eligible to play for both Germany and Sierra Leone due to his mother being born in the west African country.

At Chelsea, he could share the position currently held by Cesar Azpilicueta on the right side of the three-center back formation, alongside David Luiz and Gary Cahill.