?Chelsea are extremely close to signing Antonio Rudiger from AS Roma, with the player supposedly set to undergo a medical in LA some time this week.

The defender looks likely to join now after the clubs agreed a £36m fee, and Blues fans will be pleased to see some significant transfer activity at Stamford Bridge at last – but what they won’t be too pleased to discover is that Rudiger has awkwardly been revealed to have once pledged his support for bitter rivals Arsenal.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-ROMA-INTER

The 24-year-old said in 2014, as quoted by the ?Metro: “I have been following Arsenal since the days of Henry and Bergkamp.

“I have always dreamed of the Premier League. I watch videos of Arsenal all the time on YouTube and I often wear the current Alexis Sanchez shirt. My heart beats for Arsenal.”

His quotes are unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry, especially by Gunners fans who will no doubt seek to target the German on social media and at the Emirates Stadium next season.

The towering 24-year-old is expected to provide competition for Gary Cahill next season, with the Englishman perceived as the ‘weakest’ player in the backline next to the outstanding David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta.

The 31-year-old could well out-perform the other two and keep his place in the starting XI in 2017/18 though, meaning Rudiger might have to wait for his chance to break into the Premier League champions’ team.