Cesar Azpilicueta will reportedly run down his contract with Chelsea before joining Barcelona on a Bosman move in the summer transfer window.
Spanish journalist Jose Alvarez Haya has claimed on his appearance on El Chiringuito TV that Cesar Azpilicueta’s spell with Chelsea will soon end. After leaving the Blues as a free agent, the Spanish defender will join Barcelona on a three-year deal in the summer transfer window.
Cesar Azpilicueta is a modern stalwart for Chelsea, having gone from strength to strength since joining the west London outfit from Marseille in August 2012. Now in his tenth season with the Blues, the Spaniard has been a major asset for the club due to his ability to play across the defensive line and has also served them as the captain in the last few years.
To date, the 32-year-old has made 456 appearances for Chelsea, chipping in with 14 goals and 56 assists in the process. But Azpilicueta faces an uncertain future at Stamford Bridge, with his Chelsea contract expiring in less than six months. Such a situation has captured the attention of several European bigwigs, with Barcelona among his prospective suitors.
Barcelona’s interest in Azpilicueta stems from the uncertainties surrounding the future of Sergino Dest. The USMNT international has failed to win over Xavi Hernandez and has become a rotation option at Camp Nou. As a result, Barcelona could sell the young defender in the summer to balance their books.
But selling Dest will also prompt the Blaugrana to enter the market for a defender, which is why Azpilicueta has emerged on their radar. Signing the Chelsea defender on a Bosman move would fit in Barcelona’s recent template of largely targetting players in the final years of their deals with their respective clubs.
Such an outlook fetched Barcelona Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay on free transfers last summer. The Catalan giants are lining up more such deals for the next transfer window, with Azpilicueta among their key targets to that end. And while initial reports had claimed that the 32-year-old wished to stay put at Chelsea, the latest report points towards the contrary.
According to Jose Alvarez, the Chelsea chapter is over for Azpilicueta, who will join Barcelona in a three-year deal, with one of those years being optional. The Spanish international is not the only Chelsea defender on Barcelona’s radar, with the Blaugrana in talks with Andreas Christensen, who may reunite with Azpilicueta at Camp Nou in the summer.