A report claims Barcelona have set themselves a deadline to land Cesar Azpilicueta and are putting the Chelsea skipper ‘under pressure’ to hand in a transfer request.
Barcelona were hoping to sign the versatile defender on a free transfer this summer, upon the expiry of his Chelsea contract. But that plan came to nothing as the Blues can extend his deal by a further 12 months after he made a certain number of appearances last season.
The Spaniard is now weighing up where he wants to play next season. It is a big decision as he is now 32 years old, which means his next contract could be his last.
Chelsea would obviously like their captain to remain at Stamford Bridge. They have already lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Azpilicueta going too would leave Thomas Tuchel perilously short at the back.
Chelsea selling their captain and one of the biggest voices in the dressing room would also disrupt their plans for next season.
The Sun now state Barcelona are putting Azpilicueta ‘under pressure’ to send Chelsea a transfer request.
The Spanish giants are reportedly becoming ‘frustrated’ about him taking so long to finalise his future. And they have set a deadline for the transfer to reach completion.
Cesar Azpilicueta deadline emerges
Xavi wants Azpilicueta to become part of his squad before pre-season training begins next month. That gives the 40-cap international just a few weeks to figure out his next move.
Azpilicueta is unsure whether to hand in a transfer request right now. He has great love for Chelsea after winning every club trophy available during his 10-year spell there.
Plus, asking to leave would impact his relationship with Blues supporters, which is currently great.
Barca have told Azpilicueta that if he doesn’t bow to their demands, his dream return to La Liga will not happen.
So the right-back, who can also play in central defence, now needs to make a final decision.
It’s clear why going back to Spain appeals to him. He hasn’t played in La Liga since 2010 and would love the chance to compete for trophies there.
It is also a pretty exciting time to be a Barca player, despite the financial backdrop. They went on to finish second in the league last year and could close the gap on champions Real Madrid during 2022-23.
However, Azpilicueta is a respectful player and we cannot see him sending a transfer request to Chelsea owner Todd Boehly. The best solution is for him to wait a year before potentially joining Barca next summer – if the Spanish side will wait for him.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are looking at including an Inter Milan star as part of a swap deal for Romelu Lukaku.