According to the Spanish daily MARCA, Barcelona will not use force in their pursuit of Cesar Azpilicueta. The Catalan giants are set to hold negotiations with Chelsea over a possible summer deal for the Spanish defensive veteran.
Cesar Azpilicueta has come a long way since joining Chelsea nearly a decade ago as a promising 22-year-old defender. The experienced defender has been an asset for Chelsea in the ten years since his debut at Stamford Bridge, performing every defensive role while becoming club captain following Gary Cahill’s departure a few years ago.
To date, the Spanish international has made 466 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 16 goals and providing 56 assists. Azpilicueta, on the other hand, has fallen down the pecking order this season and has a little more than a year left on his contract after Chelsea activated the option to prolong his stay. Barcelona has taken notice of the player’s position.
Barcelona had attempted to sign Azpilicueta in a Bosman deal during the summer transfer season before Chelsea exercised his one-year contract extension option. In recent months, widespread rumors stated that the 32-year-old had reached an agreement in principle to join Barcelona.
However, with Chelsea extending Azpilicueta’s contract by a year, Barcelona has had a spanner put in the works. However, the Catalan giants are not given up just yet, especially with Noussair Mazraoui seeming increasingly unlikely to join Camp Nou during the summer transfer window.
The Ajax defender is on his way to Bayern Munich, prompting Barcelona to look for options in the market. With Sergio Dest’s future uncertain, pursuing Azpilicueta is hardly surprising, especially given Dani Alves’s age. With this in mind, Barcelona may shortly begin discussions with Chelsea regarding a summer transfer.
Chelsea’s stance on selling Azpilicueta will most likely be determined by how quickly the contentious ownership situation is addressed. The 32-year-old defensive veteran will not leave Chelsea until that happens. As a result, Barcelona will need to keep their options open in their pursuit of a right-back.