Chelsea

Chelsea

Premier League • England

Paper Talk: Chelsea book in final round of showdown talks as defender disparity outlined

Samuel Bannister

One of the key stumbling blocks preventing Cesar Azpilicueta from committing to Chelsea has been revealed, with one final round of talks now planned – while Wednesday’s Paper Talk also provides an update on the clubs chasing Dele Alli from Tottenham.

CHELSEA SET FOR SHOWDOWN TALKS WITH AZPILICUETA

Cesar Azpilicueta will meet with Chelsea after the international break to make a decision on his future.

That’s according to the Daily Mail, who reflect reports from Spain of the defender being a target for Barcelona.

However, unlike the Spanish sources they refer to, the Mail deny Azpilicueta has reached an agreement with the La Liga giants. Instead, they reveal he is waiting for one final round of talks with Chelsea.

Those will occur after the international break, which is no concern to Chelsea in relation to missing the chance to sell him this month, since Azpilicueta wants to stay until the end of the season anyway.

He could yet be convinced to extend that stay further – surpassing a decade of service to the club – but a key stumbling block has been revealed.

It is a Chelsea club policy not to offer contracts lasting longer than a year to players over the age of 31. Azpilicueta is 32.

Azpilicueta to leave Chelsea for Barcelona this summer

Barcelona have ramped up their efforts to sign Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta on a free transfer

And according to the Mail, Barcelona would be willing to present him terms over a two-year deal with the option of a third.

Their head coach Xavi has personally requested the signing of the Spanish international. He wanted him this month, but any talks between Azpilicueta and Chelsea will likely be slated in for February.

Working to Chelsea’s advantage is the fact that Azpilicueta’s family is settled in London. His three children were all born in England.

Azpilicueta to be part of double exit

Azpilicueta during Spain press conference

But elsewhere, the Evening Standard remind that the Blues risk losing both their captain and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Barcelona.

They confirm that talks are ongoing between both players and Chelsea. However, they are also free to negotiate with clubs abroad since they are in the final six months of their contracts.

Chelsea are “determined” to keep the pair, but are becoming “frustrated” with Christensen in particular over a delay in committing.

Barcelona are getting more confident about taking the Denmark international, despite rival interest from Barcelona. They also want Azpilicueta, for whom the two-to-three-year offer is reiterated.

And a third out-of-contract defender, Antonio Rudiger, is also the subject of renewal efforts from Chelsea. But Bayern, PSG and Real Madrid are all trying to snap him up.


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PREM QUARTET RIVAL NEWCASTLE FOR DELE ALLI

Everton, Brighton and Burnley are among the clubs trying to catch up with Newcastle in the race to sign Tottenham misfit Dele Alli. (Daily Mail)

Southampton have also joined the race to sign the former England international. (Daily Telegraph)

Manchester United are discussing loan exits for Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard after sanctioning Anthony Martial’s departure on the same terms. (Daily Mail)

Porto have rejected the opening offer from Tottenham for winger Luis Diaz. (The Guardian)

Newcastle are waiting to hear if their €40m bid for Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes has been successful. (The Guardian)

Vitor Pereira has held further talks with Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and remains the favourite to take charge. (Daily Telegraph)

Tottenham are talking about a loan deal for Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat. (Evening Standard)

AND THE REST FROM PAPER TALK

Rodrigo Bentancur playing for Juventus

Aston Villa believe Juventus will let them take Rodrigo Bentancur if they sign a replacement themselves. (Daily Mail)

Franck Kessie has agreed terms with Barcelona despite links with Tottenham ahead of his AC Milan exit. (The Sun)

Brentford are raising their bid for Nottingham Forest midfielder Brennan Johnson, who is also a target for Newcastle. (The Independent)

Burnley are close to signing Mislav Orsic from Dinamo Zagreb for £7m. (Daily Mail)

Celtic are allowing Adam Montgomery to join Kilmarnock on loan. (Daily Record)

Sweden expect Anthony Elanga to pledge his international future to them, although he is eligible to represent England. (The Sun)

Roy Hodgson will be rewarded with a seven-figure bonus if he keeps Watford in the Premier League. (The Times)