Chelsea delay Azpilicueta's move to Barcelona

Chelsea won’t allow Cesar Azpilicueta to leave until new defenders have been signed as wantaway captain’s £7m move to Barcelona is put on hold

  • Azpilicueta, 32, is keen to join Barcelona with two-year contract on the table
  • But Chelsea are reluctant to let captain leave without bolstering defence
  • Spaniard has a year remaining on his deal and would be allowed to depart
  • Manchester City’s Nathan Ake is close to a return to Stamford Bridge

Chelsea have told wantaway captain Cesar Azpilicueta that he cannot leave the club until they bolster their defence.

The 32-year-old is understood to be keen on what would be a lucrative move to Barcelona, with a two-year contract on the table.

And while the longstanding wing-back would go with the club’s blessing following a decade of sterling service, a shortage of bodies at the back has delayed what appears to be an inevitable departure.

Chelsea won’t allow Cesar Azpilicueta to move to Barcelona until new defenders come in

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel wants to bring in reinforcement at the back this summer

Azpilicueta – who has a year left on his contract – is keen on a Nou Camp switch, which would involve a fee of around £7m.

But manager Thomas Tuchel needs to bring in defensive reinforcements with Manchester City’s Nathan Ake close to a Stamford Bridge return and others on the radar.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, does not believe the gap Chelsea have to bridge between themselves, Manchester City and Liverpool is insurmountable.

Last season, his side finished 19 points behind champions City and 18 from second-placed Liverpool.

Blues captain Azpilicueta has the offer of a two-year contract from Barcelona in a £7m move

‘If you think about the last year, I think until December we were close then we had a lot of things against us like injuries,’ he told Sportsmail from Chelsea’s pre-season camp in Los Angeles.

‘We had Covid cases and it was like we lost a bit our level of performance, and, yes I think that’s what the difference. But if you watch the game against Liverpool and Man City last year, I don’t think you can see a big gap between us and them. 

‘So we just need to start well and keep our level of performance and see what happens.’

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