Chelsea could keep Cesar Azpilicueta after growing frustrated at Barcelona’s pursuit of a defender 

Marcos Alonso, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea against Villarreal-UEFA Super Cup
Marcos Alonso, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea against Villarreal-UEFA Super Cup - IMAGO / NurPhoto

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has admitted he is growing tired of Barcelona’s pursuit of Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

The Catalan side are looking to sign the experienced defender this summer but are dragging the deal so much that Tuchel has admitted that his club could end up keeping the Spanish international this summer.

Azpilicueta has asked Chelsea to let him leave on a cut-price deal, and the Blues are willing to grant their long-serving player his wish. But Barcelona, who have already poached Chelsea this summer when they signed Andreas Christensen for free, are looking to land the defender for cheap. 

Chelsea reportedly want at least £7m for Azpilicueta, which has left the deal hanging on the balance and is in danger of collapsing unless Barca improves their offer.

“It’s a tough question because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants,” Tuchel said when asked about his captain’s situation at the club.

“At some point, it is about what we want. I just made the comparison about how much we fought for [Kalidou] Koulibaly, who is a national team player and roughly the same age.

“He is a hugely important player for Napoli, but we have a Spanish international who is the captain at Chelsea. I see him maybe at the same level, but Barcelona don’t see him on that level. So I am not sure if I want to give him what he wants as he is a huge player.

“We don’t think so much about other clubs. The focus is on us and what we need. I said that to him, and I say it to you that I understand on a personal and a career level. But I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what’s best for Chelsea.

“He doesn’t like it but he understands. It is tough for him because the other club is permanently on him. On the first of September, when things calm down, then he can play on his highest level.”

When asked if he was annoyed at Barcelona’s push for Azpilicueta, he replied: “Maybe a little bit.”

Meanwhile, Tuchel has remained tight-lipped about the progress of the transfer of Jules Kounde from Sevilla. But he revealed he would like to add a left-sided defender to his ranks, too.

“We are looking, of course, for people who can play on the left side,” Tuchel continued. “To be honest, Antonio [Rudiger] played on the left side and is not left-footed. Maybe Kalidou can play there because he plays in a back four on the left side.

“Let’s see what’s possible. It is not only about bringing in players for numbers. We need numbers but we also need quality so we will make some decisions late. Not only on quality, but system.”