Di Matteo to finally land a right-back.
Cesar Azpilicueta is poised to complete a £7.9million move to Chelsea early next week, Goal.com has learned.
The Marseille defender’s representatives were believed to be in London on Friday to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches on his switch to Stamford Bridge.
Sources have told Goal.com that Azpilicueta will play for Marseille in their Ligue 1 home fixture against Sochaux on Sunday before joining Chelsea early next week.
The two clubs have finally reached agreement on the fee to bring an end to a summer-long pursuit.
Chelsea released Jose Bosingwa earlier in the summer and have spent most of the window pursuing Azpilicueta as a replacement.
The former Spain Under-21 international, who represented his country in their disastrous Olympics campaign, is expected to slot straight into Roberto Di Matteo’s team at right-back, where his main competition comes from veteran Paulo Ferreira and the versatile Branislav Ivanovic.
Chelsea’s search for a new right-back looks set to end, with the Blues closing in on Marseille’s Cesar Azpilicueta.
Since the release of Jose Bosingwa in June, boss Roberto Di Matteo has been desperate to strengthen the right side of his defence. The Italian currently has Branislav Ivanovic and Paulo Ferreira at his disposal but wants the Serb to play centrally, while the veteran Ferreira will now be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge.
Di Matteo’s first choice was Lille’s French international Mathieu Debuchy but the 26-year-old has surprising opted to join Newcastle and is now waiting for the clubs to agree a fee.
Chelsea also weighed-up a move for Inter Milan’s Maicon but the Brazilian is past his best at 31 and some doubted he could cope with the pace of the Premier League. Memories of his Champions League maiming at the hands of Gareth Bale two seasons ago remain surprisingly fresh.
Azpilicueta represents good value for money at £7.9m and is surprisingly experienced for a 22-year-old, having broken into the Osasuna first-team as a teenager.
With Marseille desperately needed to get big earners off the wage bill, this move represents good business all-round and means Di Matteo can stop worrying about his problem right-back role and start focus on getting a deal for Victor Moses tied-up.
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