Report: Chelsea fear Cesar Azpilicueta exit amid Barcelona interest
Chelsea fear a possible exit of defender and captain Cesar Azpilicueta amid Barcelona interest, according to reports.
The Blues captain is out of contract at the end of the 2021/22 season and has garnered a lot of interest from clubs across Europe, including Xavi’s Barcelona.
Azpilicueta also finished 29th in the 2021 Ballon d’Or, tied on points with Luka Modric.
According to ESPN, Chelsea are concerned that the defender will leave the club at the end of the season, as contract talks have not progressed very far.
Thomas Tuchel’s side had previously hoped the 32-year-old would sign a contract extension in West London, but reports suggest contract length could be the issue.
The Spain international is said to have rejected the first contract Chelsea offered him as they had not offered a contract long enough.
If Azpilicueta were to leave the victorious Champions League side, Barcelona would appear to be the leading club in the race to sign the defender.
Xavi’s side are in desperate need of quality players to strengthen their squad, but they must avoid big signings due to their financial woes.
They are also targeting fellow Chelsea defenders Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger who are also out of contract at the end of the season.
Reports also suggest that Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are another side interested in signing Azpilicueta as they see the defender as a suitable replacement for Kieran Trippier.
The former Tottenham star could make a return to the Premier League at the end of the current season.