Chelsea could be set to wave goodbye to club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, with it being reported that he has agreed a move to Barcelona.
As per Gerard Romero, the Spaniard is ‘close’ to a switch to the Camp Nou after an agreement in principle has been reached between the two parties.
Any move would likely be a free transfer come the end of the 2021/22 campaign, with Azpilicueta’s current Chelsea deal set to expire in just six months’ time and him now being free to negotiate with a foreign club regarding a Bosman move.
A switch to Spain would of course see the Blues lose one of their defensive stalwarts and one of the most consistent players to have graced Stamford Bridge in modern times since his 2012 move from French outfit Marseille.
It will certainly be a sad day to see Azpilicueta leave then, and will put Chelsea under even more pressure to find defensive recruits in the near future as Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger all also see their contracts expire at the end of the season.
Despite that, Tuchel is remaining unfazed over Azpilicueta’s contract – although whether that stance alters with the news of an impending move to Barcelona remains unseen.
Talking earlier this month, the German said: “I don’t see any problem here. The situation between Azpi, me and the club is very clear. He is our captain. He has all possibilities to stay here as long as possible and become the legend he already is. He is a fantastic captain and a fantastic player.
“If there are some weeks where he does not play so much, like in the last weeks, there are some reasons. […] That’s how it is. If there is any player who knows it is like this, it’s Azpi. He is very calm. He has everything in his own hands. I see no signs we should be worried about it.”
Should the reports be true and the Spaniard indeed seal a move to Barcelona, Chelsea would be suffering the same transfer fate that befell Premier League title rivals Manchester City in the summer.
Pep Guardiola saw the likes of Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero leave the Etihad Stadium for the Camp Nou after the pair failed to come to an agreement on new deals.
Whilst the deals have not necessarily worked out as expected – Garcia struggling and Aguero being forced to retire due to an ongoing heart issue – the pair leaving was a big blow to City, particularly the latter after the Argentine wrote his name into club folklore.
Chelsea will certainly be experiencing similar emotions should they witness Azpilicueta wave goodbye to Stamford Bridge for Barcelona next summer – an eventuality that appears to be a formality at this point.