Barcelona eye move for Chelsea star Cesar Azpilicueta as contract saga rumbles on

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Barcelona are reportedly interested in signing Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta if he doesn’t put pen to paper on a new contract at Stamford Bridge. The Spain international’s current deal is set to expire next summer.

Azpilicueta joined the Blues from Marseille in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the best defenders in the club’s history.

During his time in west London the 32-year-old has won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup.

Last season he also lifted the Champions League trophy for the first time in his career.

Chelsea are keen to keep the player at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the campaign, but he is yet to sign on the dotted line.

And that has alerted Barcelona, who apparently want to hijack Chelsea’s plans to keep the player in England.

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According to ESPN, Barca are monitoring Azpilicueta’s contract situation and are interested in taking him to La Liga.

New boss Xavi apparently likes the fact the defender is so versatile and can play in a string of positions across the backline.

The veteran would also provide Barcelona with some much-needed experience in their youthful defence.

The Spanish giants have been targeting players they can attract to the Nou Camp on free transfers due to their financial restrictions.

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Earlier this year Barca president Joan Laporta announced that his club was in £1.15billion of debt.

And they signed free agents Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia in the summer, while Lionel Messi departed the Nou Camp to free up funds.

Azpilicueta has made a total of 442 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 14 goals and contributing 56 assists.

The defender started seven of Chelsea’s first eight Premier League games this season, but has dropped to the bench in recent weeks after struggling with a shoulder injury.

He has started all four of the Blues’ Champions League encounters and his team are now within touching distance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition.

Earlier this season, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel lauded the defender as he prepared to make his 300th Premier League appearance.

“It is a pure pleasure to be his coach,” gushed the Blues manager.

“Azpi is so focused, honest, a sports guy and such a competitor. He is so open and focused on his best performances everyday. What you see on a match day is what I see everyday.

“He lives his role. He is very emotional but he is calm, he leads by example.

“He is a fantastic captain, a great player and just a really good guy too.”

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