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Chelsea have reportedly told Cesar Azpilicueta that they will not let him leave until they sign new defenders to replace his versatility and leadership.
The Blues captain is approaching his 10-year anniversary at Stamford Bridge following his 2012 arrival from Marseille. In that time, he has won a host of trophies including two Premier League titles and one Champions League crowns.
However, as the 40-cap Spain international approaches his 33rd birthday and his Chelsea milestone, he wants a new challenge.
And the exciting project his fellow Spaniard Xavi has got underway at Barcelona is tempting Azpilicueta.
Previous reports revealed that, ahead of him becoming a free agent next summer, Chelsea want £7million for him. Barcelona, though, supposedly feel the fee is ‘excessive’ given where Azpilicueta is at in his career and contract.
What’s more, the Daily Mail now claims that Chelsea have frustrated Azpilicueta on his end by telling him that he cannot leave until boss Thomas Tuchel bolsters his defence.
Not only is Azpilicueta Chelsea’s captain, he is a versatile option at centre-back full-back. He can slot into three and back four systems.
Chelsea have also already lost two defenders this summer. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have moved to Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively. As such, Chelsea want to make sure they cover themselves before letting a player of Azpilicueta’s stature go.
On the flipside, Chelsea are close to two deals in defence. Nathan Ake is close to returning to Stamford Bridge after struggling for game time at Manchester City.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly is another firm Chelsea target and the Blues are getting closer to a £34million agreement for the Senegal international.
Azpilicueta may soon get his wish, then, but is currently on Chelsea’s pre-season tour ahead of the new season.
The Spaniard apparently has a two-year deal ready for him at Barcelona once Chelsea get clarity over their defensive options.
Chelsea right to stand firm on Azpilicueta
Chelsea have taken the correct stance over their captain, who will surely be respectful of his club’s wishes.
Player and club will look to part ways on good terms after a decade-long partnership and it seems only a matter of time before Chelsea get their new signings in.
As has been proven in the current transfer window and windows of the past, though, late twists and turns can emerge.
Chelsea must therefore stand firm until their new arrivals sign on the dotted line.
There is no doubt, though, that Azpilicueta needs a new challenge and leaving after 10 years at Stamford Bridge seems a fitting way to end his time there.
The article Chelsea lay down law to Cesar Azpilicueta, as Barcelona given similarly short shrift amid two close deals appeared first on Teamtalk.com.