Chelsea hand Cesar Azpilicueta new two-year contract and pay rise to ward off Barcelona transfer interest

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Chelsea hand Cesar Azpilicueta new two-year contract and pay rise to ward off Barcelona transfer interest
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Cesar Azpilicueta will remain at Chelsea after signing a two-year contract extension, ending speculation over a move to Barcelona.

The Blues captain had been hoping to move to the LaLiga giants with a lucrative two-year contract on the table and having felt that he had accomplished all he could at Stamford Bridge.

It followed Azpilicueta lifting the Club World Cup, to complete his impressive record of winning every possible trophy in his nine years at Chelsea, as well as seeing an ownership change that led to several meetings between himself, Thomas Tuchel and Todd Boehly.

However, just ahead of the Premier League season getting underway this weekend, Chelsea have ruled out the club legend’s exit and awarded him a small pay rise, to £150,000-a-week, to keep him for an extra year, until 2024.

Chelsea’s reasoning is in no small part due to a lack of success securing another two new central defenders beyond £34million signing Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli.

Thomas Tuchel was unconvinced about signing Sevilla’s Jules Kounde despite extensive talks, allowing Barcelona to secure the Frenchman for £40million plus add-ons.

Furthermore, the Blues failed with approaches for Manchester City’s Nathan Ake, former Juventus defender Matthias De Ligt and Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Presnel Kimpembe.

Chelsea also lack confidence in prying Milan Skriniar away from Inter Milan but talks are ongoing for Leicester’s Wesley Fofana - who would cost close to around £80m should a deal be reached.

Any sale of Azpilicueta would have left them desperately short after losing both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.

Cesar Azpilicueta will remain at Chelsea for the next two seasons (Getty Images)
Cesar Azpilicueta will remain at Chelsea for the next two seasons (Getty Images)

Chelsea are finding more success in the wing-back market with Brighton’s Marc Cucurella close to joining for £52.5m, depending on the outcome of talks with Levi Colwill going the other way.

They have also identified Inter’s Denzel Dumfries and Southampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters as viable targets for their right-hand side.

With the focus on wide defenders, it likely means Azpilicueta will predominantly play on the right-side of Tuchel’s three-man central defence this coming season, competing with Trevoh Chalobah for a starting spot.

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