Chelsea ‘strike agreement’ with Barcelona as cash-strapped Spanish giants continue splurge

Darren Lewis reviews Chelsea's win against Club America

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Chelsea have reportedly reached an agreement with Barcelona over the transfer of Cesar Azpilicueta, with the deal set to be announced in a matter of days. The Blues are closing in on a number of defensive targets which should free up the Spaniard to complete his switch to the Camp Nou in a move that has been on the cards all summer. 

It has been a frantic transfer window for Barca considering last year they were financially forced into an emotional farewell with club legend Lionel Messi. Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha are among those to have been welcomed by Xavi, as well as a free transfer for out-of-contract Blues centre-back Andreas Christensen, and they look set to come back for more. 

With talk of more economic ‘levers’ being activated, which should free up more cash by selling a portion of their TV rights to an American fund, it appears as though the next step could be sewing up a deal for Azpilicueta. 

The 32-year-old has served at Stamford Bridge for a decade, making almost 500 appearances, but SPORT claim that the two clubs have already struck an agreement on a fee that could be as low as £3.4million. 

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Chelsea have reportedly reached an agreement with Barcelona over the transfer of Cesar Azpilicueta, with the deal set to be announced in a matter of days. The Blues are closing in on a number of defensive targets which should free up the Spaniard to complete his switch to the Camp Nou in a move that has been on the cards all summer.

Given his age and with one year remaining on his Blues deal, Thomas Tuchel and co may not have expected to be raking in the cash by auctioning him off. But it will still be a tough farewell to the club captain if it goes through, and with both Barca and Chelsea on a pre-season tour of the USA, things could progress quickly. 

Talk has already turned to who will come in as his replacement with Antonio Rudiger, Christensen and soon Azpilicueta set to have fled west London. New owner Todd Boehly splashed out on Napoli powerhouse Kalidou Koulibaly, and there are more believed to be in the pipeline. 

While some reports indicate that RB Leipzig youngster Josko Gvardiol is ‘the chosen one’, a move for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde would seem more likely at present. This week, Chelsea reportedly saw a £47m offer for the Frenchman rejected, but they are expected to return for a second bite at the cherry and end a transfer saga that has oscillated between hot and cold for weeks. 

There have also been talks for Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Presnel Kimpembe as well as Manchester City star Nathan Ake, but the latter move was blocked by the Sky Blues after their valuation was not met. Some Chelsea fans have called on youngsters to step up to the plate, with Levi Colwill highly-rated after a loan spell at Huddersfield and Ethan Ampadu keen on regular game time this campaign during the lead-up to the World Cup. 

“I learned a lot about myself [on loan at Venezia] and definitely improved,” he told the Evening Standard. “So it’s just about taking that momentum and trying to carry on. I’m nowhere near to where I want to be yet so there’s still a long way to go.

“The World Cup definitely adds something else but even if there wasn’t the World Cup, as a professional footballer you want to play. I enjoy playing and I want to be playing week in, week out. But the World Cup is definitely something you want to be going into feeling fit and fresh.”

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