Former Chelsea winger Willian believes Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta could play a crucial role in helping young players in the initial days of new manager Graham Potter’s tenure.
The former Brighton & Hove Albion boss replaced Thomas Tuchel after Chelsea endured a disastrous start to the season. Potter has managed the side in just one match so far, a 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg in the UEFA Champions League at Stamford Bridge.
The change in managers was one of several important decisions involving personnel taken by the club’s new ownership. Co-owner Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital took over from Roman Abramovich, who had to sell the club after he was sanctioned by the UK government.
Boehly and Co. invested heavily in the summer transfer window, only to sack Tuchel a week after Deadline Day.
During a conversation with The Athletic about his former club, now Fulham attacker Willian said:
“I couldn’t believe it when this situation happened. For me, when you talk about Chelsea, you just see Roman and Marina [Granovskaia]. It’s been difficult for everyone inside the club.
“But this is where Cesar Azpilicueta will help. He is a very good player, an important one for the club. He’s been there for 10 years. With his experience, he can help the young players that are playing there at the moment.”
The Brazilian added about Azpilicueta:
“He knows what to do in this situation. Chelsea is a big club, one of the best in the world. Every year, Chelsea are fighting for something, even if they change a manager.
“They are always there. In the seven years I was there, I had Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard. It almost become normal. But it didn’t stop us, we always fought for something.”
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta was close to leaving the club this summer
Azpilicueta was heavily linked with a summer exit with his previous contract with the Blues expiring in July this year. Barcelona were reportedly the favorites to sign the Spanish defender.
But as things turned out, Azpilicueta ended up signing a new contract with the club that would keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2024.
The versatile veteran has started just two out of the club’s six Premier League matches this term. However, Azpilicueta was named in the starting XI by Potter for the Champions League match against RB Salzburg.