Barcelona were recently dealt with a massive blow in their pursuit of Cesar Azpilicueta as it was revealed that the Chelsea defender is set to remain at Stamford Bridge.
There were indications of the defender potentially extending his contract despite his month-long negotiations with the Barcelona bosses. It was one of the rare wins for Chelsea in their tug of war against the Catalans in the transfer market this summer.
Speaking to the media today, Barcelona sporting director Mateu Alemany has confirmed that Barcelona are out of the race to sign Azpilicueta while adding that Chelsea played a key role in blocking the move.
“We had an agreement with Azpilicueta on personal terms but Chelsea didn’t want to sell him,” said Alemany (h/t Fabrizio Romano), although the Barça sporting director claimed, “We have other options, but I can’t mention any name.”
Although Alemany did not offer any names, it is believed Barcelona are eyeing a move for Azpilicueta’s Chelsea teammate Marcos Alonso. The Spaniard may even turn out to be the club’s last major signing of the summer unless they sanction the sale of Frenkie de Jong.
However, there are reports that the Catalans are considering Athletic Club’s Inigo Martinez as a potential alternative for Azpilicueta, as the 31-year-old offers immense experience to the table.
Martinez is unlikely to cost a fortune either as he is currently in the final 12 months of his contract at Athletic Club. But he may cost more than Azpilicueta, nonetheless, especially with the defender having a release clause worth €80 million embedded in his contract.