Since arriving at Chelsea nearly 10-years-ago, versatile defender Cesar Azpilicueta has gone on to lift an impressive eight major trophies, including two Premier League titles and last season’s Champions League.
Having now won every major trophy available to the Blues and with his contract set to expire next summer, there are mounting concerns that the experienced Spaniard may move on in search of one final challenge.
That’s according to a recent report from Sport, who claims Azpilicueta, 32, is being targetted by La Liga duo Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Both clubs are continuing to contend with the financial impacts the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had and ahead of next season, an ideal solution could be to bring in one of football’s most well-rounded players, especially if they are free.
With his contract set to expire in just over six-month time, should Azpilicueta fail to sign a contract extension between now and the new year, the 32-year-old would be eligible to discuss and agree to a pre-contract with clubs outside of England as early as January 2022.
Although Thomas Tuchel will probably be hoping Azpilicueta stays with the club, with every passing day it appears the German’s desired outcome could be more and more unlikely.
Hailing the Blues’ captain earlier this year after the defender appeared in his 300th match for Chelsea, Tuchel, as quoted by the club’s official website, said: “He is very emotional but he is calm, he leads by example. He is not giving speeches every day. When you put him in every single exercise, you know what the level is up to.
“The captain is in top shape, has had sleep and looks after himself.
“He is a fantastic captain, a great player and just a really good guy too.”
Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva are all also out of contract next season, although there is growing confidence that the latter will stay on for the 2022-23 season.