Chelsea: 468-game icon 'will stay' at Stamford Bridge

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Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta ‘will probably stay’ at the club beyond the current campaign, according to Daily Star journalist Paul Brown.

Much debate has surrounded the 32-year-old’s future in recent months as his contract situation has remained far from certain, but it now seems as though he’s set to stay at Stamford Bridge.

What is the latest news involving Azpilicueta?

Azpilicueta had been one of three centre-backs, alongside Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who had entered the final few months of their Chelsea contracts.

However, the 38-cap Spain international has triggered a one-year extension of his existing deal with the Blues after playing a certain number of games this season.

Catalan giants Barcelona had been in talks to bring Azpilicueta back to his homeland prior to the clause being activated as they look to rebuild their first-team squad under new manager Xavi.

And doubts over the versatile star’s future had begun to mount after the UK government placed sanctions on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich following his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Under the restrictions, the west London outfit are unable to sign players to new contracts, acquire new players, or sell players.

Yet according to The Athletic, it’s believed Azpilicueta’s deal is not regarded as a new contract, and therefore, is not impacted by the sanctions currently in place on Chelsea.

What has Brown said about Azpilicueta?

Azpilicueta told reporters ‘this is not the place or the time’ to discuss his future ahead of Spain’s games against Albania and Iceland last month.

Yet Brown has revealed that his ‘gut feeling’ is that the experienced defender will remain with the capital club and that a ‘compromise’ will be worked out.

In an exclusive interview with GiveMeSport, he said: “My gut feeling is that he will probably stay, and there will be a compromise worked out. I don’t think Azpilicueta wants to leave, but he’s at a stage in his career and at an age where he’s got to think about the future a little bit.”

How important is Azpilicueta to Chelsea?

Since arriving at Chelsea back in August 2012, Azpilicueta has made 468 appearances across all competitions, winning every major trophy available to him along the way.

And although he’s no longer a guaranteed starter under manager Thomas Tuchel, his underlying numbers highlight his continued importance.

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As per WhoScored, Azpilicueta has averaged 2.2 tackles, 2.4 clearances and 0.5 blocks, placing him in the top five for each metric when compared to his teammates.

Being able to call upon Azpilicueta’s services for at least another 12 months will surely be beneficial to Tuchel then, aiding his project at Chelsea.

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