‘Maybe a cycle is at its end’: Thomas Tuchel admits Cesar Azpilicueta wants to leave for Barcelona this summer – despite Chelsea’s attempts to keep the club captain with Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger both departing
- Thomas Tuchel has conceded captain Cesar Azpilicueta may be on his way out
- The Chelsea star’s contract was extended by a year after triggering an extension
- But there is serious interest from Spanish side Barcelona in signing the defender
- And Tuchel admitted he is open to letting him go despite the defensive exodus
- Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen are leaving on free transfers this summer
Cesar Azpilicueta could be on his way out from Chelsea despite the club’s attempts to keep him amid a defensive exodus, according to manager Thomas Tuchel.
Centre backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, both out of contract this summer, are set to leave for Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively on free transfers.
And despite Azpilicueta triggering a contract extension after a certain number of appearances, Blues boss Tuchel admitted they may allow him to leave for Barcelona after 474 appearances in all competitions across a decade of sterling service.
Cesar Azpilicueta could be on his way out at Chelsea, according to Blues boss Thomas Tuchel
The club are in talks to reluctantly release the Spaniard from his deal after 10 years of service
He said: ‘It felt like he won everything after the Club World Cup, then suddenly given his personal situation I can understand these thoughts that maybe a cycle is at its end. Then it’s a change of ownership and he played only under this owner, in this structure, so it maybe increased even his second thoughts about his situation.
‘Then his (contract) extension kicked in at the same time and he loves the club, he loves the challenge, he loves to be here and he is our captain… Given the fact we lose already key defenders, it’s not the ideal scenario to think about losing Azpi, even if I can understand his personal point of view.
‘At some point, if you are a legend, which he is, you deserve maybe also from me and the club, a second look at it, is there is maybe an exception from the rule and we are still in this process. If he cannot get rid of this feeling, if we have to talk about it openly, seriously and respectfully because he deserves it.
The club could therefore be facing a defensive crisis, with Antonio Rudiger (centre) and Andreas Christensen (right) already set to leave Stamford Bridge this summer on free transfers
‘This is what we have to find out. That does not mean we find it out tomorrow or today, we still have time because we are also in the privileged position where we have a contract. We have to see… I would hope strongly, he knows this (Chelsea want to keep him), he knows it. We are still in the talks to find out the ideal solution.’
The 32-year-old, who can play at centre half, right back or right wing-back, is attracting serious interest from the Catalan side, who are reportedly willing to offer him a two-year deal with the option for a third.
The club could face a defensive crisis if Azpilicueta also leaves, with only veteran Thiago Silva, 37, and youngsters Trevoh Chalobah, Malang Sarr and Levi Colwill centre back options for next season in that scenario.
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