Cesar Azpilicueta

Atletico Madrid are reportedly in the race to sign Chelsea defender and Barcelona target Cesar Azpilicueta in the ongoing transfer window.

Azpilicueta, who is in the final year of his current deal at Stamford Bridge, has been a core member of the west London outfit for a decade. Since joining from Ligue 1 club Marseille in 2012, the 32-year-old has helped the club lift nine trophies, including the 2020-21 Champions League trophy.

Overall, Azpilicueta has made 476 appearances across all competitions for Chelsea, registering 17 goals and 56 assists in the process.

According to Futbol Total (via Fichajes.net), Atletico Madrid are set to compete with Barcelona for the signing of Azpilicueta this summer.

The report further stated that the Blues would rather sell the veteran to Diego Simeone’s side than Barcelona due to their tussle over Jules Kounde’s signature. The two clubs were locked in an intense battle to sign the Sevilla defender but the Catalan club prevented Kounde from reaching an agreement with the Londoners.

The Frenchman made 44 appearances for the La Liga side last season and helped his team maintain the best defensive record in the division, conceding only 30 goals.

Azpilicueta is said to be interested in ending his career in his home country. As per the aforementioned report, his profile, versatility, and leadership are vital factors behind Atleti’s interest in him.

Speaking at a pre-season press-conference, Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel shed light on Barcelona’s shortcomings in finalizing a potential transfer. He said (via The Guardian):

“It’s a tough question because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants. At some point it is about what we want. I made the comparison about how much we fought for Kalidou Koulibaly, who is a national team player and roughly the same age. I see [Azpilicueta] maybe at the same level but Barcelona don’t see him on that level.”

Chelsea tipped to sell Timo Werner for half of their acqusition price

Journalist Florian Plettenberg has reported that Werner is not happy with Tuchel’s constant criticism towards his compatriot. He is in search of regular football with the World Cup around the corner.

Former West Ham United striker Frank McAvennie is eager to see if the Blues will manage to recoup half of striker Timo Werner’s £47.5 million transfer fee. He told Football Insider:

“He has missed more chances than what he has scored, that’s for sure. They paid quite a bit of money for him. I think if they got half back, they would be delighted because he has missed a lot of chances.”

McAvennie continued:

“If he gets a move, he will go and be a star again at another club. I don’t think what he does now at Chelsea will matter, even if he starts scoring goals, because I don’t think the fans have taken to him.”

Werner could be demoted to the bench next season at Chelsea following the arrival of Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for a transfer worth £55 million.

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