Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has said that the club have been conducting extensive talks with Barcelona target Cesar Azpilicueta about his future in west London. The German hinted that a possible summer exit for Azpilicueta could be on the cards but admitted that he wants the Spaniard to remain at Stamford Bridge.
Azpilicueta, 32, moved to the Bridge from Marseille in the summer of 2012. He has since put in numerous decisive performances and won all titles with the club, emerging as a bonafide club legend.
Happy with the veteran’s output, Chelsea recently activated a one-year extension clause in his contract. However, that has not stopped the rumour mill from linking the Spaniard with a move to Barcelona (via Fabrizio Romano).
Tuchel admitted that Azpilicueta’s future is not certain and that multiple factors might have influenced his decision-making. Speaking to Chelsea’s official media outlet, the German tactician said:
“We had a lot of these talks because I think it felt like he won everything after the Club World Cup, so I can understand these thoughts, that maybe a cycle is at its end. Then there’s also a change of ownership, and he played only under this owner, so maybe it increased his second thoughts about his situation.”
Although Tuchel did not explicitly take Barcelona’s name, he acknowledged the involvement of another club, saying:
“His extension kicked in at the same time, and he loves the club; he loves the challenge, and he loves to be here. He is our captain; we are still in dialogue, and at some point, we are also selfish because we are not responsible to solve any other club’s problems or to fulfil any other club’s wishes.”
Chelsea boss Tuchel wants Azpilicueta to stay
With both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen refusing to renew their contracts, Chelsea are set to be without two first-team defenders next season. Losing Azpilicueta in that case would be a massive blow, something Tuchel wishes to avoid.
The former Paris Saint-Germain coach said that he understands the right-back’s point of view, but hopes he would consider fulfilling his contract. Tuchel added:
“Given the fact that we lose key defenders already, it’s not the ideal scenario to think about losing Azpi, even though I can understand his personal point of view.”
“At some point, if you are a legend which he is, you deserve from me and the club a second look at it, to see if there’s maybe an exception from the rule, and we are still in this process.I would hope strongly (that he stays), and he knows this, but we are still in the talks to find out the ideal solution.”
Since joining the Blues in 2012, Azpilicueta has featured in 475 games across competitions, registering 17 goals and 56 assists. He has won two Premier League, one Champions League, one FA Cup and two UEFA Europa League titles, among other honours.