Cesar Azpilicueta has reportedly become the target of new Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez, with the Chelsea defender set to become a free agent next summer.
Since joining Marseille for a nominal fee of £ 7million in 2012, Azpilicueta has been ‘Mr. reliable’ for the Blues, having made 442 appearances for the club with a virtually flawless injury record and a multitude of trophies to boot.
During a nine-year stint at Stamford Bridge, the defender won the Champions League, two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, a UEFA Super Cup and also won two both the Europa League.
Club captain Azpilicueta, who took the armband when Gary Cahill left the club in 2019, looks stronger than ever under Thomas Tuchel, playing a central role in Chelsea’s recent triumphs in Europe and securing a call-back to the squad Spanish national.
However, he has yet to sign a contract extension and Barcelona or any other foreign club are therefore entitled to negotiate a pre-contract deal with the player in January.
ESPN reports that Xavi is looking for a new right-back to help Barcelona move up the La Liga table at the end of the year, despite the return of 38-year-old Dani Alves to Camp Nou last week.
The Blues want their captain to stay at Stamford Bridge as there has been no drop in form despite his age.
Nonetheless, with a host of talented defenders at Tuchel’s disposal – including fit right-back Reece James – Azpi could seek a new challenge in his homeland.
Barça already has American international right-back Sergino Dest in its ranks.
The 21-year-old has played regularly for Barcelona this season, having made 13 appearances in all competitions this quarter and some as a right-winger.