Barcelona’s big task this summer is to strengthen at right-back. Sergi Roberto has done well but not always convinced in this position and looks set to return to midfield. Aleix Vidal’s future is not clear either. In this sense, there are various names on the table, including Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta.
Sporting director Robert Fernandez has began talks to find out Azpilicueta’s situation. Ernesto Valverde’s arrival strengthens this option as he’s a player the new Barcelona coach has always liked. He already tried to sign him when he was Athletic Club coach.
A player with a lot of qualities, Barça are primarily thinking in Azpi as a right-back. However, he’s played in a back three for Chelsea this season and has also shown he can play at left-back. He’s a completed defender and has supplied four assists this season and completed 87 percent of his passes.
The defender is 27 and at his peak. Chelsea, aware of this, renewed his contract in December until 2020. It shows he is a fundamental player for the Premier League champions. He played 3,420 minute in the league this season, every single minute of every single game. Antonio Conte is delighted with him and is planning on keeping him around.
However, if Barça push through with their interest it would represent a chance to return to the Spanish league, where he spent four seasons with Osasuna before moving to Marseille and then Chelsea.
Reports suggest his value is around 25 million euros, although Chelsea would want more. Other clubs may be interested, too, but Bellerin, at 22, five years younger, remains more in-demand. It will be tough to negotiate with Arsenal, though, who want 40 million euros.
MAN CITY WATCHING
The value of the market is conditioned by the interest of other clubs. In this sense, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have also shown and interest in Azpilicueta (and Bellerin). If they had to sell, Chelsea would prefer to sell to Barça as they are not a direct rival in the Premier League. Meanwhile, City are said to be close to signing Tottenham’s Kyle Walker.