Cesar Azpilicueta has an “agreement in principle” to join Barcelona if he is allowed to leave Chelsea this summer, a report has claimed.
Azpilicueta has been in the final year of his contract with Chelsea, but reached an appearance tally that should trigger an automatic one-year extension to that deal. Despite this, his future at the club is still in doubt.
Should a takeover of the club go through, permitting them to do transfer business, Azpilicueta will remain in the sights of Barcelona. They have been working on his signing since the winter.
According to Diario Sport, they have identified him as their third signing of the summer. That’s because they already think they have deals for fellow Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen and Milan midfielder Franck Kessie tied up.
After that, they will pursue Azpilicueta – and the interest is mutual. Although he remains club captain at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard is considering a return to La Liga.
He has not played club football in his native country since 2010, when he left Osasuna for Marseille. The French side subsequently sold him to Chelsea two years later.
Now, there is said to be a “conviction” that Azpilicueta will become a Barcelona player in the summer, a decade on. Despite the automatic contract extension, Chelsea could release the 32-year-old in gratitude for his lengthy commitment to the club.
He will hold talks with any new owners about his future, but is likely to favour a move to Barcelona. There, he has an admirer in Xavi, who wants him to share duties at right-back with Dani Alves.
Versatility makes Azpilicueta appealing to Barcelona
Azpilicueta is also capable of playing as a left-back or centre-back. That makes him even more appealing to the Catalan club.
In turn, he is “clear” that he wants to represent them. He will now be waiting to see if he can make the move in the summer.
For Christensen, the situation is less complicated. He is out of contract in June and Chelsea cannot renew his deal at present. There is a feeling he may already have agreed his next move to Barcelona.
Only time will tell whether Azpilicueta follows him. But there seems to be more optimism building in Spain that that will be the case. Indeed, Sport say his move there is on the “final stretch”.