Barcelona are reportedly considering making a free transfer swoop for Chelsea and Spain defender Cesar Azpilicueta at the end of the season.
According to a report from Spanish publication Fichajes, Barcelona are plotting a summer swoop for Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta who will be out of contract with Premier League giants Chelsea in the summer.
Azpilicueta has been with Chelsea since the summer of 2012 when he arrived from French club Olympique Marseille and has been a mainstay at the back for the Blues ever since. A versatile player, the 32-year-old has played at right-back, left-back and centre-back over the years for the west Londoners and has tasted immense success at the club.
Made club captain after Gary Cahill’s departure in 2019, Azpilicueta, to date, has made 439 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 14 goals and setting up 56 more, winning two Premier League titles, two UEFA Europa League trophies, other domestic cups while he also led the team to the UEFA Champions League triumph last season.
Azpilicueta continues to be a key player in the side for Chelsea, but his contract with the club is up for expiry in the summer next year. There has been little noise over the prospect of a renewal so far, which has now seemingly alerted Barcelona, as they line up to make a Bosman swoop for the 32-year-old.
Barcelona, given their financial predicament, have been forced into looking at youth signings and free transfers. The Catalans made three free transfer signings last summer and seem to be planning for a similar strategy next year as well, with the likes of AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie on the radars, with Azpilicueta also now emerging as an option.
Defence is an area that Barcelona could certainly bolster, given that Gerard Pique is pretty much at the final phase of his career. Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet, meanwhile, are out of favour, with the latter even being linked with a shock move to Newcastle United.
Considering that the likes of Eric Garcia, Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza are still relatively inexperienced, signing a seasoned campaigner like Azpilicueta could serve well for Barcelona. Moreover, the 32-year-old can play at centre-back or even at right-back, where Barcelona will need cover for Sergino Dest, as Sergi Roberto’s contract is expiring at the end of the season.
A move for Azpilicueta, thus, makes a lot of sense for Barcelona. However, Chelsea are unlikely to want to let their captain go without a fight and are expected to offer him a contract. It will be up to the Spanish international as to what he chooses next year.