Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger admits reports linking him with a move to Bayern Munich are an “honour”, but insists he remains focused at Chelsea.
The German has been a key cog in the Blues’ success under Thomas Tuchel, playing a major part in their Champions League winning campaign last season.
But the centre-back has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge at the end of the season when his contract expires, with the club and the player understood to be some distance apart in terms of salary.
Rudiger is said to want around £200,000-a-week – a 100% pay rise – while Chelsea are thought to have offered just a £25,000-a-week increase.
Currently on international duty with Germany, Rudiger was quizzed on the links to Bayern.
“Of course (Bayern’s interest) honours me and proves that I’ve been doing things right,” he told the press. “But I don’t let myself be distracted.
“I have an obligation to my club to perform well. I have to prove myself every game and not let myself be distracted by rumours. I make my decisions for myself. They don’t depend on anyone. I feel good where I am.”
The 28-year-old has played more than 150 times for Chelsea since joining from Roma in 2017, adding two FA Cups, the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup to the Champions League gong.
Speaking last month, Bayern noss Julian Nagelsmann hailed him as a “decisive player”.
“I’m generally not a big fan of talking about players who are under contract elsewhere, and besides, we’re outside the transfer period,” he said.
“I’m talking about him now as a football fan because he is a German senior international. He has made a super development. Thomas [Tuchel] has handled him extremely well – he was still on the sidelines at Chelsea a year ago and is now certainly one of their most decisive players.
“He has incredibly good aggression and is a very good defender. I haven’t spoken to Brazzo (Hasan Salihamidzic) about it and if I did, I wouldn’t tell you either!
“I just read that in the media as well. I’ll have to see when the contract expires and then I’ll see if I still have money in my wallet!”
But sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic distanced the club with a move for Rudiger.
“It’s not okay when we talk about players who are with other clubs,” he told DAZN.
“Julian said that about him in the press conference, but he’s a coach who sees a lot of players – so why shouldn’t he rate an international and speak about his strengths?
“We are really well filled in the center-back position. We have strengthened ourselves very well and brought in a top player in Dayot Upamecano, Lucas Hernandez is here, Tanguy Nianzou is there, Benjamin Pavard can also play inside – we really are very, very well staffed.”
Rudiger is understood to be seeking around £200,000 a week to renew terms, but is not thought to be in no rush to make a decision on where his future lies. He will be free to discuss a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside England in January.