Monday, July 4

Double-edged sword for Chelsea as new contract agreed – but exit still on the cards

There is good and bad news for Chelsea when it comes to club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, according to the latest reports.

The defender has been at Stamford Bridge since 2012. He has made over 450 appearances for the Blues, helping them to win several trophies.

Azpilicueta arrived in the immediate aftermath of Chelsea’s first Champions League triumph. The Spaniard’s aim was to lift the trophy again, and that happened last season.

32-year-old Azpilicueta remains an integral player for both club and country. He featured in Spain’s 2-1 win over Albania on Saturday.

The full-back’s future in west London is uncertain. With his contract seemingly running down, Barcelona were hoping to pounce on the situation by organising a free transfer deal.

Last week, Azpilicueta was asked about his future while on international duty. He said he ‘lives in the moment’ and instead wanted reporters to focus on Spain’s selection rather than his club.

The Daily Mail, who cite Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, provide an update on Azpilicueta’s circumstances.

They claim he has agreed a one-year extension with Chelsea, which came about after a certain number of appearances was reached.

Chelsea had contract agreed prior to sanctions

This threshold was passed before sanctions were imposed on owner Roman Abramovich. They prevent the club from agreeing contracts with other players, such as Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Unlike his team-mates, Azpilicueta will no longer become a free agent in the summer. Instead, his spell at Chelsea will last until at least 2023.

However, Chelsea are still bracing themselves for interest in the star. Barcelona are aware of Azpilicueta’s extension but have not been put off by this.

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Cesar Azpilicueta Chelsea March 2022

They remain keen to engineer a transfer and will pay for him if they need to. Xavi likes Azpilicueta’s ability to operate as a full-back or wing-back, hence the interest.

The coach also believes he can become a role model like former Barca centre-back Carlos Puyol.

Azpilicueta is open to the switch, although he is also happy to remain at Stamford Bridge. His main aim is to continue playing regularly ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

It is unclear how much Barca would be willing to pay to land the skipper. transfermarkt put his value at £9.9million, while Chelsea originally paid just £8m in 2012.

READ MORE: Maurizio Sarri eyeing reunion with Chelsea man at Lazio as initial contact revealed

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