Barcelona set to face competition in their pursuit of Chelsea defender – Reports

Barcelona will reportedly face competition from Atletico Madrid in their pursuit of Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta.

The Blaugrana are said to be interested in replacing the aging Gerard Pique. His glaring decline in recent years was evident once again in Barcelona’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich last night (December 8). They also need a dependable right-back, with Sergino Dest and Oscar Mingueza struggling to perform consistently.

Additionally, Azpilicueta will be available on a free transfer as his current deal with the Blues expires at the end of the season. Negotiations between the 32-year-old and Chelsea have seemingly hit a roadblock and he could prove to be a bargain signing for Barcelona.

However, according to reports from Eurosport (via The Hard Tackle), the Catalans will face competition from Atletico Madrid for Azpilicueta’s signing. The Rojiblancos are said to be considering the Chelsea skipper’s signing due to the uncertainty around Kieran Trippier’s future.

Atletico do have Simi Vrsaljko to play in Trippier’s favored right-back position, but the Croatian has flattered to deceive since arriving in the Spanish capital. Consequently, they are rumored to be interested in signing Azpilicueta on a free transfer next summer and will compete with Barcelona for the same.

Barcelona target Cesar Azpilicueta has enjoyed a phenomenal career at Chelsea

Cesar Azpilicueta joined Chelsea from Olympique Marseille back in 2012. Azpilicueta has been a fixture in the Blues’ teamsheet ever since, helping them secure the UEFA Europa League in his very first season at the club.

Overall, the veteran Spaniard has made 445 appearances for Chelsea across all competitions. Azpilicueta has managed 14 goals and 56 assists during his time with the club. He was even elected Blues captain upon Gary Cahill’s departure in 2019.

The 32-year-old has also won multiple honors during his nine-and-a-half-year stint at Stamford Bridge. Azpilicueta has picked up two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup domestically with Chelsea. On the continental stage, he has won two Europa League titles, one UEFA Champions League trophy and the UEFA Super Cup.

Azpilicueta has made 16 appearances for Thomas Tuchel’s side this season, registering three assists.

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