Cesar Azpilicueta has signed a new two-year Chelsea contract to dispel Barcelona transfer rumours, with a report revealing Todd Boehly’s influence.
Defence has proved one of the watchwords over the summer for the Stamford Bridge club. Following the exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen at centre-back, they have sought fresh faces.
However, full-back has also been an area to watch. Spain international Azpilicueta has had long-term interest from Barcelona, who have already made a flurry of signings – including Christensen.
Nevertheless, Chelsea have now fended off the La Liga giants to tie Azpilicueta to a new contract.
The 32-year-old told his club’s official website: “I am really happy to extend my stay at Chelsea, my home. It is almost 10 years since I first arrived and joined the club so I really feel the love and I am really excited for the new project we have in our hands.
‘I would like to say thank you to Mr Todd [Boehly] and Mr Behdad [Eghbali] for giving me the opportunity to keep my journey at this amazing club and I am really looking forward to continuing our adventure.
“I am a really proud captain and I hope we can share many good memories together.”
Boehly, Chelsea’s new owner and acting sporting director, added that he is “thrilled” that Azpilicueta can show more of his “exemplary commitment and leadership”.
Report details Boehly influence on Azpilicueta contract
As for how Chelsea convinced Azpilicueta to stay at Stamford Bridge, AS sheds light on the situation.
Boehly reportedly scrapped an agreement former Blues transfer chief Marina Granovskaia had with the player.
The pact would have allowed Azpilicueta to leave this summer, with Barcelona therefore sniffing out a deal.
However, as Boehly came into Chelsea, Granovskaia – alongside former Blues chairman Bruce Buck and technical director Petr Cech – both left.
Boehly subsequently reinstated Azpilicueta as a leader of the team and orchestrated a U-turn in the Spaniard’s thinking.
Chelsea owner makes big decision
Boehly has attracted a lot of press in recent days for his decision-making at Chelsea.
And the press has often been negative. Gary Neville has claimed the American looks like he does not really have a plan and compared him to Manchester United’s Glazer owners and former Red Devils chief Ed Woodward.
But Boehly must be praised for stepping in and turning Azpilicueta’s situation around. Chelsea could not lose him this summer as they enter an uncertain new chapter.
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Indeed, he has been at the forefront of two Premier League title triumphs, a Champions League win and an FA Cup victory – among other silverware – during his time at Chelsea.
As Chelsea’s new ownership get to grips with the club, Azpilicueta is a seasoned professional who knows the values of the club inside and out and can help guide the club.
Keeping him is a no-brainer decision and Boehly must get praise for sorting the situation out.