Premier League • England

Chelsea pair previously ‘irreplaceable’ team up with double exit requests

Marcos Alonso, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Cesar Azpilicueta at Chelsea training

Two Chelsea players have told their representatives of their plans to leave the club, according to one transfer reporter.

Chelsea became European champions in the summer after beating Manchester City in the Champions League final. But to stay at the top – and to challenge again on the domestic front – they know they need to keep evolving their squad.

Such matters may be taken out of their own hands in 2022, when several of their players will be out of contract. If they cannot negotiate renewals, they will have to bid farewell to some key players and find replacements from elsewhere.

One player who is out of contract at the end of the season is captain Cesar Azpilicueta. Some of his teammates are reportedly puzzled as to why his future has not been tied down yet.

Now, it has emerged that Azpilicueta is one of two Chelsea players who could be trying to orchestrate an exit so he can be guaranteed of his place at the 2022 World Cup with Spain.

Ian McGarry said on the Transfer Window Podcast (via the Express): “We’re now obviously in the countdown to Qatar, less than a calendar year, and so players are getting itchy feet with regards to if they’re not playing regularly they may well miss out, especially players of a certain age.

“That certainly applies to Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso at Chelsea.

“Two full-backs who, at one point, looked absolutely irreplaceable, [before] the emergence of Reece James and the purchase of Ben Chilwell.

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“Azpilicueta and Alonso have informed their representatives to find another club or certainly to find alternatives where they believe that they will get playing time.

“They will then get a chance in doing so to earn a place in their respective World Cup squads.”

Alonso and Azpilicueta to leave Chelsea?

Azpilicueta has started nine of Chelsea’s 16 Premier League matches so far this season. Alonso, meanwhile, looks ready for a run in the side during the time Chilwell is out with an ACL injury.

But in the longer term, their futures remain unclear.

Marcos Alonso Chelsea

Alonso has one more year left on his contract than Azpilicueta, so faces a less critical timeframe for his decision. But as McGarry mentioned, the World Cup being just a year away could have an impact.

Only time will tell where either player may end up. Azpilicueta could return to La Liga, with either Atletico Madrid or Barcelona.

For the opposite side of defence, Alonso has also been suggested as a possible Barcelona target.

Chelsea contract rebel picks next club

As stated, Azpilicueta is one of a number of Chelsea defenders yet to commit to a new contract despite their terms ending in June.

Another is Antonio Rudiger, who has established himself as one of the Premier League’s standout defenders.

It would therefore be beneficial for Chelsea to keep him. But some reports are suggesting that Rudiger wants as much as £290,000 a week to sign new terms at Stamford Bridge.

And despite his importance to Tuchel, that seems far higher than Chelsea are willing to spend.

Now, according to SportBILD, Rudiger has his heart set on a move to Real Madrid.

Los Blancos see the signing of the defender on a free transfer as an ‘opportunity not to be missed’. As such, they are reportedly ready to submit an approach for him from January 1, when he is eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement.

That news comes amid reports that PSG are also planning a huge counter offer of their own. Indeed, SportBILD writes that Rudiger’s camp held talks with PSG sporting director Leonardo over a deal earlier this month.

Furthermore, PSG reportedly see two benefits to signing Rudiger. First and foremost, the capture of a world-class star on a free would represent a real coup for the Ligue 1 giants.

Secondly, PSG are currently embroiled in something of a cold war with Real Madrid over Kylian Mbappe. The striker looks likely to move to Los Blancos as a free agent next summer. However, the capture of Rudiger by PSG were act as some semblance of revenge.

That said, SportBILD are adamant that Rudiger’s heart is set on a move to the Bernabeu, with a three-year deal proposed.

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