Friday, August 19, 2022

Veteran Chelsea Defender Likely To Stay Put Beyond This Season: Boost For The Blues?

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Pratyay Maitra
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If a report from Marca is believed to be true, Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta’s contract has been extended by one year. Roman Abramovich had his assets frozen by both the UK government and the European Union in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The imposed sanction has refrained the Blues from offering new deals to their current stars or roping in new names in summer, however, a clause in the Spaniard’s contract has been activated after 30 appearances this season.

The 32-year-old defender was supposed to return to his homeland by the end of the current term amid interest from Barcelona. He left Osasuna at a very young age in favour of Marseille but eventually served for a decade at Stamford Bridge since securing a £7m switch from Les Phocéens back in August 2012.

Azpilicueta conquered all major honours donning Chelsea colours and his versatility across the backline made him integral to their enormous success over the years. He has not only delivered as a right centre-half in Thomas Tuchel’s ‘back three’ setup but also impressed down the wide as a right wingback during Reece James’ injury absence. As per the rumour, his egress might not be imminent anymore despite the turmoil.

Chelsea skipper Cesar Azplicueta celebrates the Club World Cup triumph
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – FEBRUARY 12: Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea lifts the trophy after the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021 Final match between Chelsea v Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on February 12, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Why Chelsea Must Not Panic Despite The Conundrum

Although the reigning European champions have been allowed to complete the ongoing campaign, the likes of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen would not be in West London next term as their current deals are set to expire soon. The situation might change though as the deadline for bids has been delayed until this Friday and the English giants are encouraged by the same with an array of interested buyers keeping close tabs on the whole saga.

Chelsea are still going strong across competitions having conquered the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup so far this season. A shootout misfortune led to a defeat against Liverpool in the League Cup final, but the Champions League and the FA Cup are still up for grabs given their ability to grind out results from close encounters.

Meanwhile, a dreadful January shattered the Blues’ Premier League aspirations. It’s a two-way race now between Manchester City and Liverpool and Tuchel’s men are likely to grab a third-place finish ahead of the other big guns of the competition. Things may go south from here, but their resurgence in the post-Abramovich era would be boosted by retaining Azpilicueta.

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