Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia is facing up to a huge summer challenge after Cesc Fabregas claimed the first of many potential exits is “almost done”.
The Blues could experience great upheaval in their defensive ranks this summer. Thiago Silva has penned a one-year extension, while Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah have made encouraging strides forward this season.
However, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta are all out of contract in five months’ time. The latest on captain Azpilicueta from Spain suggested Barcelona were closing in on a free agent pick-up.
The 32-year-old’s versatility is highly regarded by Barca boss Xavi. His impending free agent status will also make him a financially viable target for the cash-strapped Spaniards.
As such, Mundo Deportivo claimed Azpilicueta was seeking showdown talks with Marina Granovskaia to determine where his future lays.
Former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips suggested Tottenham boss Antonio Conte could pursue an unlikely reunion.
However, after 10 years of faultless service at Stamford Bridge, moving to a bitter rival would be unthinkable.
Fabregas stokes Azpilicueta exit fires
Now, the Daily Mail have added a new wrinkle to the story. They quote former Chelsea ace Cesc Fabregas who has lit the fire under an Azpilicueta exit.
When appearing on noted Spanish journalist Gerard Romero’s Twitch channel, Fabregas said: “Azpilicueta to Barca, they’re saying it’s almost done.”
Of course, that could be a simple case of Fabregas regurgitating the speculation he’s head in the media. However, it could be another small sign that Azpilicueta’s stellar stint in blue could be coming to an end.
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger back on Bayern Munich radar
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is a target for Bayern Munich to replace Niklas Sule at the end of the season, according to reports.
Christensen is also on Barcelona’s radar, and has since emerged as a target for Bayern Munich. The German giants are searching for a replacement for Niklas Sule who will join Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
With multiple central defensive exits a possibility, Granovskaia could be put to work on revamping Thomas Tuchel’s defence in the summer.
Links to Sevilla’s Jules Kounde have never gone away, while Juventus’ Matthijs De Ligt has also been mentioned.
Marcos Alonso to buck the trend
Meanwhile, Marcos Alonso has suggested he could stay at Chelsea beyond the 2023 expiry date of his contract after vowing to repay the club’s faith.
There have been plenty of rumours about him leaving the club, potentially to return to his native Spain. However, Alonso has now cast serious doubt on any such claims.
While preparing for the Club World Cup final, the 31-year-old told Goal about the long-term aims he still has for Chelsea – whom he described as his “most important club”.
Marcos Alonso said: “It’s not over. I signed a long contract here to stay for a long time. Chelsea is the most important club in my career. I want to give back all the chances they put in me. That’s my only target.
“There will be good moments, there will be bad moments, there will be managers coming in and out. My contract is with Chelsea and I serve the club.
“I have always had interest from other clubs. But to be honest, it was never my intention to leave. I wanted to fight for my position. I know what I can give to the team. And until the club tells me something else then that will always be my target.
“I am happy to be here to achieve these kinds of trophies. I am looking forward to Saturday to try to make history and continue making the fans happy and ourselves also.”