Chelsea: 38-cap star could make Stamford Bridge exit with Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta could follow Antonio Rudiger out of Stamford Bridge this summer, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

The 38-cap Spain international recently had his contract extended, but Jones thinks an exit could still be on the cards.

What is the latest news involving Azpilicueta?

Thomas Tuchel confirmed last month that Azpilicueta had triggered an appearance-related clause in his contract that has extended his current deal by an extra year.

“I knew it all the time that this is very likely to happen,” the Chelsea manager said when discussing the recent development surrounding the 32-year-old with reporters (via The Independent).

“He’s a regular starter for us. You know how much I rely on him and how much impact he has on this club and this group. So it’s very good for us.”

Barcelona have been heavily linked with Azpilicueta, who was set to leave the club on a free transfer. The above, however, now means that the La Liga side will have to pay Chelsea a transfer fee if they want to bring the versatile defender back to Spain.

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What has Jones said about Azpilicueta’s Chelsea future?

Despite that automatic contract extension, Jones thinks there is still a good chance that Azpilicueta leaves Stamford Bridge in the upcoming transfer window amid Barcelona’s interest.

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the football journalist said: “They need to bring back Levi Colwill and see whether he’s up to the challenge, and they need to discover whether Azpilicueta’s leaving or not.

“There’s still a possibility of that because he wanted a two-year contract, but Chelsea weren’t willing to give it. There’s still a possibility he leaves.”

Can Chelsea afford to lose Azpilicueta?

With Tuchel confirming that Rudiger is leaving Chelsea at the end of the season, it would probably be unwise to let another experienced defender go once they are able to operate in the transfer window.

The Blues, however, could bring in a couple of new centre-halves, with The Telegraph reporting that Tuchel will ask the club’s new owners for reinforcements in that position.

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That is likely to include Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, who the Premier League outfit chased last summer. According to 90min, they remain confident of signing the France international despite current sanctions.

Still, to lose Rudiger, Azpilicueta and potentially Andreas Christensen all in the same window would be extremely damaging. It would leave Tuchel needing to gel practically an entire new central defence together. Therefore, Chelsea should probably be looking to keep hold of their skipper ahead of the 2022/23 season.

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