Latest reports suggest that Chelsea have been offered £18m by Athletic Bilbao for the services of Cesar Azpilicueta. The Spaniard supposedly wants to return home after spending the past 8 years away at France and England. The defensive ace switched over to the Blues in the summer of 2012 from Ligue 1 side, Olympique Marseille and has made 280 appearances for the club so far.
The report also claims that Chelsea might not hesitate to let go of the 28-year-old if they secure the transfer of Joao Miranda from Inter Milan as a replacement. This is certainly an absurd bit of news for the Chelsea faithful to digest since the latter is almost 33 years old now.
Miranda has overtaken Marquinho and David Luiz’s spot in the Brazilian national team but is also in the final stages of his playing career. He made a shocking error in the first group stage match in the 2018 FIFA World Cup when he allowed Switzerland to equalise and collect a crucial point.
The Inter Milan man has proven himself in the Serie A and was previously a member of the Atletico Madrid team but will only be a surplus to either Antonio Conte or Maurizio Sarri’s requirements in the coming season. He is not versatile with his positioning like Azpilicueta and neither does he have the legs to play over 50 games for the club, like the Spaniard.
Chelsea currently have a very promising centre-back duo of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christiansen with Gary Cahill and Ethan Ampadu in the side as their backups. Azpilicueta is capable of filling any position in the backline but is best suited to play in the right-back position.
He has been instrumental in Conte’s three-man back system over the past two seasons, to not only secure their defence but also to launch attacks and supply balls from the deep positions. With his work ethic and ability to deliver at the highest level on a consistent basis, Azpilicueta can be considered as one of the best defenders/fullbacks in the world.
Sadly, even with such great qualities in his bag, he is a misfit for the Spanish national team and gets chosen behind the likes of Dani Carvajal and Nacho Fernandez.
Azpilicueta still has a contract with the Stamford Bridge outfit, which is set to run for another two seasons. Even if Sarri takes Conte’s spot as the Chelsea manager, it is unlikely that the former Napoli head coach will sanction a move for one of the club’s best players, especially for an aged veteran.