Premier League • England

Cesar Azpilicueta future: Report lifts lid on verbal agreement with Roman Abramovich over transfer

Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea after missed penalty in FA Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta remains at loggerheads with the Blues over his future – and it’s an apparent agreement with former owner Roman Abramovich causing the biggest headache.

The long-serving Chelsea defender finds his future under the spotlight this summer amid claims he is looking to return to Spain. Signed for a bargain £7m from Marseille in 2012, the 32-year-old has played approaching 500 games for the Blues in a decade’s service.

His deal was due to expire this summer, but Chelsea decided to take up the one-year option on his deal. That means his contract at Stamford Bridge now expires in summer 2023.

And with Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger also departing, few can blame Chelsea for taking up their option on the versatile star.

However, Chelsea’s decision to extend his contract casts shade on his plans to quit the club. He was being strongly linked with a move to Barcelona, who were understandably keen on a free-transfer swoop.

Indeed, reports recently claimed Azpilicueta has reached an agreement in principle to move to Catalonia.

Now, however, those plans look in jeopardy with finances still tight at the Camp Nou.

Azpilicueta, though, remains determined to make the move, according to the latest reports.

As per Spanish paper, Sport, Azpilicueta had reached a verbal agreement with Abramovich to depart on a free this summer.

They state the player is unhappy the club went against their previous owner’s word and took up their option on him. Now, Sport reports that Azpilicueta is trying to persuade the Blues to honour Abramovich’s word.

As such, Azpilicueta is looking to hold a meeting with Chelsea’s hierarchy once Todd Boehly’s takeover is finalised.

Sport claims the 38-times capped Spain defender has already agreed an initial two-year deal at Barca. That deal will present the option of a third season, potentially tying him to Barca until summer 2025.

Azpilicueta on FA Cup final shootout miss

Azpilicueta, meanwhile, has been denied the chance to end the season with an FA Cup winners medal.

The Blues were beaten 6-5 by the Reds in a penalty shootout at Wembley on Saturday. Azpilicueta was one of two players to miss from the spot for Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Assessing his miss, Azpilicueta has lifted the lid on his sadness.

“It’s football. It’s hard to take but somehow you have to resolve the game and in the last two games on penalties we were not on the winning side. [We] are the first ones who are hurt. We want to do our best, we want to score the penalty, we want to make our fans happy. Unfortunately it didn’t happen and we have to put our heads up and go for the next one,” he told Chelsea’s official website.

“[The] level is higher and higher so the margins are shorter and every detail counts.

“Today we feel bad. We got two trophies this season, the Club World Cup and the Super Cup, which we have to appreciate as well. It was the first time winning the Club World Cup in the history of the club, the first Super Cup since many years ago.

“Now we have two games, six points, to finish third, but today I see everything negative.”

Star needs to reach compromise with Chelsea

Despite dropping down the pecking order under Tuchel, Azpilicueta has remained an integral member of Chelsea’s squad. He has made 46 appearances in all competitions this season, operating in a variety of positions in the side.

And should he depart as he hopes, he will leave another sizeable hole in the Chelsea squad.

Cesar Azpilicueta still wants Chelsea exit this summer

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta expects previous agreement to be honoured as he looks to leave Chelsea for Barcelona this summer

However, the Blues have every right to exercise their right to demand a fee for his departure.

If he did have a verbal agreement with Abramovich, that looks unlikely to satisfy Chelsea over his exit.

And with the Russian no longer having an association with the club, Azpilicueta may now face a nervous wait on his future.

The Blues are still likely to demand a fairly sizeable fee for his services. As such, it remains to be seen if Barcelona will be able to match Chelsea’s asking price.

That said, the Blues will not want to keep a player who clearly wants out. Therefore, it’ll be in their best interests to agree some sort of compromise.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are being urged to make a shock swoop for Robert Lewandowski this summer.