KEY POINTS

  • Xavi is pushing for Azpilicueta's deal at Barcelona
  • Azpilicueta's current contract with Chelsea will expire in 2022
  • The Spaniard has not signed an extension yet with Chelsea

Cesar Azpilicueta is reportedly in advance talks with FC Barcelona over a potential summer transfer to Camp Nou.

Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez is personally pushing for Azpilicueta’s deal to go through the club, while club president Joan Laporta has agreed to his wish, reported Catalan publication El Nacional

Azpilicueta’s current deal with Chelsea is due to expire in the summer of 2022 and he’ll be allowed to begin negotiations with other clubs from Jan. 1.  He recently rejected a contract renewal from Chelsea, according to Sports Witness.

If Barcelona finalize a deal for Azpilicueta, that would mean, the Catalan club would not extend Dani Alves’ short-term return to Camp Nou. Alves returned to Barcelona earlier this year but is not able to make his second debut with the La Liga side until January, the report further claimed.

Meanwhile, it would also see Azpilicueta’s return to Spain, 11 years after he left Osasuna to join the French club Marseille.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich considers Azpilicueta as one of the most important players in the club’s history and is reportedly already preparing ‘a farewell with magnificence for when the defender departs from Stamford Bridge, according to Metro UK.

Even though Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has handed the captain’s armband to Azpilicueta this season, the 32-year-old defender has been out of the squad of late. The right-back has played in just one of Chelsea's last seven Premier League matches, being on the bench for the remaining six.

Since joining Chelsea at a mere fee of $9.3 million from Marseille in the summer of 2012, Azpilicueta has been a vital cog of Chelsea’s squad over the years, having made 444 competitive appearances for the Blues. He has helped the side win many trophies, including two Premier League titles, and the Champions League that Chelsea won the last season. 

Chelsea's Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta lifts the Champions League trophy Chelsea's Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta lifts the Champions League trophy Photo: POOL / CARL RECINE

The success in Europe led to Azpilicueta’s return to the Spain national team for the Euros 2020 and FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers.

Apart from Azpilicueta, Chelsea’s other key defenders such as Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger have also not signed an extension yet with the club and Tuchel could lose them for free at the end of the 2021-22 season.