Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta is STAYING at Stamford Bridge as the Spaniard signs new two-year deal to ease Thomas Tuchel’s defensive crisis… with Barcelona boss Xavi dealt a huge blow to his Nou Camp rebuild plans
- Cesar Azpilicueta will stay at Chelsea after signing a new two-year contract
- LaLiga giants Barcelona have expressed serious interest in signing the defender
- Azpilicueta has been hugely influential for the Blues since arriving back in 2012
Cesar Azpilicueta’s decision to stay at Chelsea deprives Xavi of the defender he most wanted to build his new look Barcelona around.
The Spanish international who turns 33 at the end of this month was one of the first players the Barca coach called last December when he was trying to organise January arrivals to rescue the club’s season.
The desire to bring him in has remained this summer with Azpilicueta earmarked to play at right-back while also offering Xavi the chance to play with a back three and even give cover to Jordi Alba at left-back.
Cesar Azpilicueta will stay at Chelsea after signing a new two-year contract at the club
Azpilicueta (left) has been hugely influential for Chelsea since arriving in the summer of 2012 and it will be a huge boost for Thomas Tuchel (right) that he’s staying
Xavi has also been keen to bolster the character of his squad. He wants experienced, battle-hardened winners and, as with Robert Lewandowski, he saw those qualities in the Spain international.
Azpilicueta told Xavi last December that as Chelsea club captain there was no way he would leave them mid-season but this summer he was open to a move if something could be sorted out between the two clubs.
Before Roman Abramovich sold the club, Azpilicueta was confident that he would be allowed to move on a free despite playing a sufficient number of games last season to automatically renew his deal.
The defender has been linked with a move to Barca, with Xavi keen to add his experience
That willingness on behalf of Chelsea changed when Todd Boehly came in and Marina Granovskaia left.
Boehly felt that he could not let his captain leave no sooner than take charge at least not without a big-name new arrival.
Chelsea knew they were setting Azpilicueta’s price beyond Barcelona’s reach when they slapped a £8million tag on him.
Their resolve not to sell was stiffened as they allowed defenders to leave the club and missed out on replacements – none more so than Jules Kounde who joined Barcelona despite Chelsea’s offer satisfying Sevilla.
There was still hope at Barcelona that they could do business with Chelsea by including him in a deal for Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong or Pierre Emerick Aubameyang but the tactic failed.
Chelsea’s new co-owner Todd Boehly felt that he could not let his captain leave this summer
And while Azpilicueta was open to joining Xavi he was never so keen to leave Chelsea as to position himself in opposition to the club in the way that Lewandowski had done at Bayern Munich.
His family are very settled in London and pleased they are staying and the player himself is also happy with the outcome. He wanted the issue resolved before the start of the season.
Chelsea confirmed he signed a two-year contract on Thursday and Barcelona will go back to the drawing board in terms of bringing in an option at right-back before their season starts on August 13.
The defender said he ‘feels the love’ of the club after confirming his stay.
‘I am really happy to extend my stay at Chelsea, my home,’ said Azpilicueta. ‘It is almost 10 years since I first arrived and joined the club, so I really feel the love and I am really excited for the new project we have in our hands.
‘I would like to say thank you to (Chelsea owners) Todd (Boehly) and Behdad (Eghbali) for giving me the opportunity to keep my journey at this amazing club and I am really looking forward to continuing our adventure.
‘I am a really proud captain and I hope we can share many good memories together.’