Cesar Azpilicueta has fulfilled a requirement for his Chelsea contract to be automatically extended, but doubts persist about the club captain and two of his teammates.
For many months, three members of Chelsea’s backline have been facing uncertain futures. Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are all out of contract at the end of the season.
Now, the club may have become powerless in their attempts to keep them. After owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government, his assets have been frozen.
It will have a serious impact on how the club operates. In this instance, they cannot negotiate new contracts for their players for the time being.
However, in Azpilicueta’s case, there could still be a way for them to keep him beyond this season. According to AS in his native Spain, the full-back has reached an appearance tally that would trigger an automatic one-year extension.
He needed to play 30 games this season for his deal to extend without negotiation. So far, the Spaniard has played 32 games, meaning the clause in theory could have been activated.
But journalist Matteo Moretto has reported that Chelsea did not activate the clause in time. Therefore, Azpilicueta could still leave in the summer.
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The defender has been of interest to Barcelona. If he is under contract in the summer, they would not be able to sign him while Abramovich’s assets are still frozen. But if he is out of contract they can still acquire him.
Xavi has identified his compatriot as an ideal reinforcement for his Barcelona revolution in the summer.
Azpilicueta could stay but duo to leave
He should find it much more straight-forward to take Christensen from Chelsea instead. The Danish defender has reportedly undergone a medical with the Catalan club ahead of a pre-contract agreement.
And with Chelsea no longer able to negotiate a renewal, the path is clear for Christensen to become a Barcelona player from July 1st.
That leaves Rudiger as the only Chelsea contract rebel’s future to determine. According to Fabrizio Romano, the Germany international has offers from three unnamed clubs.
Rudiger will supposedly soon make up his mind about where to play from next season onwards. He has established himself as one of the world’s elite defenders during his time at Stamford Bridge.
So far, Rudiger has been linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and even Newcastle. Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid have all appeared in reports as well in the past months.
Now, he should be all clear to move as a free agent when his terms expire in the summer. It would bring an end to five years of service to Chelsea.