Chelsea 'won't sell' 17-goal star who's 'struggled' at Stamford Bridge

Thomas Tuchel takes charge of Chelsea at Goodison Park

Chelsea will keep hold of experienced defender Cesar Azpilicueta over the summer transfer window, according to Daily Star journalist Paul Brown.

The 32-year-old’s future was up in the air for several months as he approached the end of his contract until a one-year extension was triggered after he played a certain number of games.

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Azpilicueta was one of three centre-backs who were set to become free agents at the start of July, with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in identical situations.

Rudiger appears destined to join Champions League finalists Real Madrid ahead of next season, though, while Christensen has reportedly agreed terms on a long-term deal with Barcelona.

However, Azpilicueta now seems set to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond the current campaign after making a whopping 471 appearances for the capital club across all competitions.

In that time, the Spain international has registered 17 goals and 56 assists, claiming every trophy on offer to him, including one Champions League crown and two Premier League titles.

Azpilicueta’s exit would have left Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr as the only remaining centre-backs on Chelsea’s books, leaving manager Thomas Tuchel short of options.

What has Brown said about Chelsea?

In an exclusive interview, Brown told GiveMeSport: “I do think Azpilicueta will be around next season, I don’t think he’ll be sold.

“At times, he’s struggled a bit this season, and I don’t think you could rely on him to play many games at centre-back.

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“So, to lose two of your starters and just be relying on Thiago Silva, who’s a year older, Chalobah, who has been in and out of the side, and then Sarr, who has kind of been a bit of an emergency slot-in there at times would not be what the manager wants.

“So, I think they will be forced to try and sign two defenders.”

Who could Chelsea sign?

Chelsea came close to signing Sevilla central defender Jules Kounde last summer, but the Spanish outfit refused to accept any offers below his £68 million release clause.

According to the Daily Mail, though, the France international has given Tuchel a boost in their hopes of finally securing his signature.

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It’s claimed that the intelligent defender has informed the Sevilla hierarchy of his determination to leave the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.

Tuchel could revive his interest in the 23-year-old then, replacing some of the defensive solidity he’s set to lose due to Rudiger and Christensen’s imminent exits.

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