Amidst Chelsea’s inconsistent form this season, one of very few constants has proven Cesar Azpilicueta. The Spanish full-back has made 39 appearances in all competitions this campaign and has battled on despite all the turmoil.
Considering the 26-year-old was snapped up for just £6.5 million in 2012, he’s appearing a very strong investment. While Chelsea can sometimes prove haphazard in the transfer window, this instance certainly demonstrates the Blues’ occasional cunningness.
In fact, with Azpilicueta proving one of the club’s most loyal servants, the west London side seems to have secured a player that will prove vital in the long term as well as the present. The Spaniard is arguably Chelsea’s best signing of the past five years.
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Although in 2012 Azpilicueta was far from unknown, to many English-based supporters the move was certainly a curious one. Furthermore, with such a complicated surname, his claim to fame at Chelsea was simply being brandished ‘Dave’.
With Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole on good form, game time was extremely limited at first. However, under Jose Mourinho, the Spaniard quickly established himself as a regular in the side and his consistency earned him considerable plaudits.
The 26-year-old was an integral player in Chelsea’s rampant charge to the Premier League title in 2015 and despite a number of squad members crumbling this season, Azpilicueta has largely held his form.
Although far from a champagne player, the Spaniard has been a reliable member of the team to which any manager can call upon. Furthermore, he has popped up with a handful of crucial goals this season - home and away versus West Brom despite his deep-lying position.
In addition, his dexterity has been highlighted during 2015-16. Despite being flung from flank to flank, Azpilicueta has always risen to the task.
BEST RECENT SIGNING?
The captures of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa certainly unnerve Azpilicueta’s case, but the Spanish full back can never be rivaled for consistency. Besides, Chelsea were left looking when they needed Cesc Fabregas and co. at the start of this season but to no avail.
Price must also be considered. Some Championship transfer fees even exceed £10 million today, but Chelsea swooped for Azpilicueta for just £6.5 million. In the mean time, not only has the ex-Marseille man racked up 12 international caps but his market worth has soared.
So while Hazard and Costa may have scored more goals, bagged more assists and soaked up more of the publicity, Azpilicueta has had a similar degree of influence but simply in a less glamorous position.
Azpilicueta has proven one of the biggest bargains in Chelsea’s and even the Premier League’s recent history.
CHELSEA FANS: WHO DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN YOUR BEST SIGNING OF THE LAST FIVE YEARS? HAVE YOUR SAY IN THE COMMENT BOX BELOW!