Barcelona, July 13: Barcelona are reportedly switching their focus to signing Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta after cooling their interest in the transfer of Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.
The club’s new manager Ernesto Valverde is said to be a huge admirer of the versatile 27-year-old, and has touted the Chelsea man as his biggest priority.
Azpilicueta has been at Stamford Bridge since joining from Marseille in 2012, and has become a pivotal player for the Blues with his excellent displays in a number of different positions over the years.
Starting out as a right-back, Azpilicueta then made the successful switch to the left-hand side before playing as one of three central defenders in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation last season helping Chelsea mount the title.
Barcelona are likely to be looking at the Spain international as an option at right-back, with a few reports suggesting they’d decided against moving for Bellerin and could also consider Benfica’s Nelson Semedo as an option in that position.
According to Marca, Azpilicueta is now a priority target for Valverde, who is a huge fan of the player and tried to sign him in the past when he was in charge of Athletic Bilbao.
Chelsea won’t want to lose more players this summer after dealing with Diego Costa’s likely move back to Atletico Madrid, while the likes of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have also attracted interest from Real Madrid.
Azpilicueta is a massive fan favourite at Stamford Bridge and a move seems very unlikely but with Barcelona wanting him, you never know. Every footballer dreams of playing for clubs like Real Madrid or Barcelona and on top of that, Azpilicueta is a Spaniard.
A deal for Azpilicueta will cost a fortune to Barcelona but they do have the financial pulling power and also the power to attract any player they want. We have to wait and see if Chelsea can keep their star man with the Blaugrana interested.