Chelsea captain César Azpilicueta has agreed terms on a two-year deal with Barcelona but a deal is still to be agreed by the west London club and La Liga side, according to Ben Jacobs of CBS Sports.
The Spaniard has been at the Stamford Bridge club for almost a decade after signing from Marseille in August 2012, but his time in west London could be coming to an end this summer.
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What’s the latest on Azpilicueta?
According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea won’t let Azpilicueta leave the club until defensive replacements are brought in, with Manchester City’s Nathan Aké on the radar.
The same report says that Thomas Tuchel’s side are prepared to let the 32-year-old leave the club with their blessing after almost a decade’s worth of service, and the versatile defender is eager to join the Catalan giants with a fee of around £7m on the table.
The 40-time Spain international has just one year remaining on his deal at Stamford Bridge, so Chelsea may not begrudge a departure should they get adequate replacements in this summer.
And Jacobs believes that Azpilicueta’s potential move to Barcelona is likely to happen eventually, with the player having already agreed terms on a deal.
What has Jacobs said about Azpilicueta?
He told GIVEMESPORT: “He has already agreed terms on a two-year deal.
“The move is likely to happen eventually, but there was no progress made last week when Boehly met Joan Laporta face-to-face in Barcelona.
“Azpilicueta himself has too much respect for Chelsea to force an exit.”
Will Chelsea miss Azpilicueta?
Chelsea seem to be willing to move on from the 32-year-old, who has played at both right-back and centre-back for the Stamford Bridge club, but it is not only his consistent performances that Tuchel will miss.
Azpilicueta is a well-respected figure around the club, and his presence both on and off the field will be missed by all, especially with Tuchel looking to build a younger side in west London.
The £150k-per-week star has made 476 appearances for Chelsea since joining the club in 2012, scoring 17 goals and providing 56 assists in that time according to Transfermarkt, displaying his longevity and consistent presence over the best part of the last decade.
Azpilicueta is likely to suit Barcelona’s traditional ethos by keeping the ball on the ground and playing out from the back, and this is shown by the fact that he ranked in the top 3% of centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues and European competition for progressive passes per 90 minutes last season (5.27), according to FBref.
Whilst the time might be right to move on for Azpilicueta, his consistency and leadership will be missed by all at Chelsea, and having won one Champions League, one Club World Cup, two Europa League’s, two Premier League’s, and one Super Cup in his time at Stamford Bridge, he will leave the club as a hugely respected figure.
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