Casualty of next Chelsea transfer identified as Barcelona spot opportunity to mark end of an era
Barcelona believe they can sign a long-serving Chelsea player if the Blues get their way with their next target, according to reports.
Chelsea have had a busy January transfer window so far. They have bolstered their squad with talents for the present and the future. There have been particularly big investments in the likes of Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile and Noni Madueke.
Still, there are some remaining tasks for them to tick off. Chelsea are chasing the signature of another right-back to provide competition for Reece James, while they are also in the market for a midfielder if possible.
Focusing on their right-back pursuit, one major target is Malo Gusto of Lyon. However, he will be difficult to prise away from the Ligue 1 side during the January transfer window.
Another option could be Denzel Dumfries of Inter Milan, although once again it remains to be seen how doable a deal would be in January.
Either way, it is one of Chelsea’s priorities to add to their ranks at right-back. James is one of the best in the Premier League, but has encountered injury issues in recent years. Therefore, they need more cover for him.
Currently, the main alternative is Cesar Azpilicueta. However, the club captain is 33 years old now and may not be a long-term solution. Besides, if Chelsea play with a back three, as they have done recently, he would be more useful as a centre-back rather than a wing-back.
Therefore, Azpilicueta could either complement a new arrival or find himself at risk. And according to Diario Sport, his situation has caused Barcelona to take another look at him.
The La Liga side have tried to sign Azpilicueta before. However, Chelsea managed to keep hold of the Spaniard.
Azpilicueta remains Barcelona target
Now, though, Barcelona are wondering whether Azpilicueta might become available again. Finding a new right-back is also a pressing concern for them, although they can only look at cheap options.
Azpilicueta should fit within their strategy, so if Chelsea do allow him to move on – and there have been claims that they will – Barcelona will be near the front of the queue.
Chelsea still have Azpilicueta under contract until 2024. However, Barcelona are hoping to convince them to allow him to move for free. It remains to be seen how the Premier League side will feel about that formula.
Whenever the time does come for Azpilicueta to leave, it will be the end of an era. He has been with Chelsea since 2012, making 500 appearances for the club so far.
Hopefully, Azpilicueta will be able to leave on a high note. But with it being a turbulent season for Chelsea so far, there is a lot of work ahead.
It seems like he is the kind of character to want to help their cause, so perhaps this is a situation to monitor for the summer, when once again it might be more likely for Chelsea to make signings of their own in his role.
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