Wolves v Chelsea Match Pictures
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Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has reportedly decided on his stance about joining Barcelona with time ticking down on his contract at Stamford Bridge. Barca boss Xavi is said to be a huge admirer of the Spanish defender, who has now moved up to seventh on Chelsea’s all-time appearance list.
Despite his status as Blues skipper, Azpilicueta has seen his contract at Stamford Bridge run down to its final six months.
While he was a key part of the team that won the Champions League last season, game time has been slightly harder to come by this term.
He recently went five weeks without playing in a Premier League game, with Reece James, Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah preferred in defence.
Injuries and an outbreak of Covid-19 among Thomas Tuchel’s squad have restored him to the starting line-up un recent weeks, though he has appeared in every Champions League game this term.
But the chance that this could be Azpilicueta’s final season in London have been increasing by the week.
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His contract is in its final year, with the Blues currently pre-occupied by sorting out the contract situations of Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Christensen.
That has left Azpilicueta at risk of departing Stamford Bridge, with the two parties currently a distance apart in negotiations.
According to The Athletic, Azpilicueta is hoping to offered the security of a multi-year contract by the Blues.
Such an offer would go against Chelsea’s tradition contract structure, with the Blues tending to only offer 12-month extensions to stars in their 30s.
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It is stated that Azpilicueta does not have an agent and so is handling negotiations himself, alongside a lawyer.
And they may soon have a decision to make, with the defender able to sign a pre-contract agreement with an overseas club from the start of the January window.
The Athletic report that one team who would be heavily interested in coming to such an arrangement is Barcelona.
Barca boss Xavi played with Azpilicueta in the Spanish national side and is said to be a ‘huge admirer’ of the Chelsea star.
Xavi is currently attempting to rebuild the Catalan giants back into a force and has marked out Azpilicueta to bring leadership and experience to the club.
But his hopes of signing the defender may be dashed, with Azpilicueta’s priority said to be remaining at Stamford Bridge.
It is stated that Chelsea still expect him to sign an extension despite the interest from Barca, though if the La Liga club offer a better deal they would be back in pole position.
While the Blues clearly want to keep him, the longer negotiations over a new deal drag on, the likelier it becomes that Azpilicueta will depart.
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