Antonio Rudiger is delighted to be in the Premier League after waiting “years” for interest from Chelsea to deliver a big-money transfer.
The Germany international has been snapped up by the Blues in a £34 million deal after many windows of being linked with a move.
Having burst onto the scene at Stuttgart and enhanced his reputation in Italy with Roma, the classy defender has often been targeted by leading sides in the English top flight.
Chelsea were often among those said to be keen, and Rudiger is looking forward to rewarding that show of faith after joining Antonio Conte’s ranks.
He told reporters while with the Blues in Singapore on International Champions Cup duty: “I wanted to play in the Premier League and it is now years that my name was linked to Chelsea.
“Now I am here and I am very happy. I want to thank all of the people who made this come true.”
Rudiger is aware that he faces a different kind of challenge in England to that he has previously overcome in Germany and Italy.
The 24-year-old is relishing the tests which lie ahead and is excited to be opening a new chapter in his career, having helped his country to Confederations Cup success over the summer
He added: “I cannot say much about the Premier League because I did not experience it yet.
“But the Italian league is more tactical. You don’t have open games but here in England it is different, both teams are attacking the whole time so that is the main big difference, and of course the physical aspect in England.
“I think the whole league is a big challenge so I need to be prepared for each game.”
Rudiger has been drafted in by Conte to bolster a defensive unit which performed admirably during a Premier League title triumph in 2016-17.
David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta formed a reliable three-man back line last season, but they now face added competition for places.
Chelsea also needed to bring in further cover after seeing long-serving club captain John Terry leave the club at the end of his contract.