Real Madrid are reportedly keen to sign a top-quality defender next summer and Antonio Rudiger is atop that list.
The Spanish giants have spent the last three transfer windows parting ways with fringe players and some of the club's highest earners. Carlo Ancelotti's side now possesses the funds required to sign their top transfer targets.
According to SportsMail, Los Blancos have drawn up a four-man transfer wishlist to improve their defense. This includes Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger, Liverpool centre-back Joe Gomez, Villarreal defender Pau Torres and Sevilla youngster Jules Kounde.
Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane left Real Madrid at the end of last season. The Spanish giants signed former Bayern Munich star David Alaba as a replacement for Ramos last summer. However, they are yet to sign an adequate player to fill in for Varane.
Chelsea defender Rudiger's contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and he has thus far rejected the chance to extend his deal with the club. Ancelotti is believed to be a fan of the 28-year-old German. Real Madrid could look to sign Rudiger on a free transfer next summer if he runs down his contract with Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Villarreal star Pau Torres has caught the attention of a host of Europe's top clubs thanks to his consistent performances over the last couple of seasons. He also impressed whilst on international duty with Spain at Euro 2020. The 24-year-old has emerged as a target for Real Madrid, according to AS.
Sevilla star Jules Kounde is reportedly keen to leave the club to join one of Europe's elite teams in the near future. The Frenchman was heavily linked with a move to Chelsea last summer but the deal failed to materialize. Real Madrid could enter the race for the 23-year-old next summer.
Lastly, Liverpool star Joe Gomez has fallen down the pecking order at Liverpool in recent months since the arrival of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. The 24-year-old has made just 10 appearances in all competitions for the Reds this season.
Gomez could seek a move away from Liverpool to join a club where he will play regular football.
Real Madrid are likely to prioritize the signing of Antonio Rudiger next summer
Antonio Rudiger's experience, speed and physical attributes make him the ideal replacement for Raphael Varane at Real Madrid. Furthermore, Rudiger could become a free agent next summer if he does not extend his contract with Chelsea this season.
Acquiring the German on a free transfer will allow Real Madrid to spend big on the likes of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe next summer. Los Blancos have had a long-standing interest in the duo as they look to sign a long-term replacement for Karim Benzema.
Antonio Rudiger is the cheapest option available for Real Madrid within the players on their wishlist. So far, the German has made 172 appearances for Chelsea, scoring nine goals. Rudiger has also won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and FA Cup with the Blues.
Villarreal are reportedly seeking a fee in the region of €60 million for Pau Torres. Meanwhile, Sevilla are believed to have set the asking price at €50-60 million for Jules Kounde, according to ESPN.