Barcelona eye free move for Azpilicueta
Spanish giants Barcelona are rumored to be interested in bringing Chelsea captain and Spanish international veteran César Azpilicueta back home for the first time since 2010, with the 32-year-old defender out of contract in the summer at Stamford Bridge.
Azpilicueta remains a key participant in the first-team under Thomas Tuchel since the German’s arrival halfway through last season, making fourteen appearances across all competitions this season.
🚨 Barcelona are interested in bringing in Chelsea right-back César Azpilicueta on a free transfer.
His contract at the Blues runs out in the summer of 2022.
(Source: MARCA) pic.twitter.com/cwDy5FDkD5
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) December 1, 2021
But according to Transfer News Live citing Spanish publication MARCA as a source, Barça is maneuvering to bring in another veteran presence into the dressing room under Xavi.
SB Nation’s Reshad Rahman also tweeted the same earlier, referencing ESPN and Diario Sport writer Samuel Marsden.
Now 32-years-old, despite his excellent record of service for Chelsea across a decade in west London and over 300-appearances for the club, the Blues have little reason to extend his terms at Stamford Bridge after England international Reece James is far and away the first-choice option on the right side of the defense. Though it remains unclear what role Azpilicueta would play at Barca given their recent free move for club icon Dani Alves and the continued growth of Sergiño Dest, a move back to La Liga could at least set him up for the twilight of his career before hanging up his boots.
Contract concerns in the Chelsea backline
César Azpilicueta is not the only Chelsea defender that is out of contract in the summer at Thomas Tuchel’s table-topping outfit.
Veteran Brazilian Thiago Silva, Danish international Andreas Christensen, and German stalwart Antonio Rüdiger are all without gainful employment next season if they do not extend terms at Chelsea, and would be free to move where their heart desires in the summer.
Christensen specifically could be one of the most affected at the moment, with the Brøndby IF trained and Chelsea perfected center-back failing to appear in the club’s last-three outings amidst his contract standoff with the Blues.
The continued delay in both parties finding amicable terms could force Chelsea into a conundrum that could see the current Champions League holders go out and splash £50million on a replacement if the Dane does not make a decision soon.