In a major blow to Barcelona’s transfer plans, Cesar Azpilicueta has decided that he will stay put at Chelsea and sign a new contract, reports Gerard Romero.
The 32-year-old Spanish international had emerged as one of Blaugrana’s top transfer targets, with Xavi Hernandez looking at him to strengthen the right-back slot following the departure of Dani Alves.
Barça had been in talks with Azpilicueta for quite some time now and had even agreed personal terms with the versatile defender. However, an agreement with Chelsea was proving to be an obstacle due to the difference in valuation between the two clubs.
On top of that, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and new owner Todd Boehly were reluctant to let go of their club captain as they want him to stay amidst a period of transition for the team.
Furthermore, Barcelona have recently encountered a problem with player registration as they are yet to register any of their new signings and need to trigger another economic lever to do it successfully.
As a result, the Catalans had informed Azpilicueta to wait for some time so that they can resolve the Financial Fair Play issue before making a move to sign him. However, the Spaniard wanted his future sorted out before the start of the Premier League season this weekend.
Hence, he has decided to stay put at Stamford Bridge and conveyed his decision to Barcelona manager Xavi on Thursday morning, reports Gerard Romero.
As per the Spanish journalist, not only will Azpilicueta stay at Chelsea, but will also pen a two-year contract extension, with an official announcement expected shortly.
This could see Barça shelve their plans of offloading Sergino Dest, who is currently the first-choice right-back at Camp Nou. With a move for Azpilicueta seemingly off the table, it will be interesting to see if the Catalans fare better in their pursuit of his Chelsea teammate Marcos Alonso.