Athletic Club expected to target Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of summer transfer

Athletic Club expected to target Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of summer transfer

The Tuchel shake up

The arrival of Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea is likely to see a rather large shake-up of personnel in the upcoming summer transfer window.

The Blues of course moved to bring in a host of of talent last summer, with several players having signed for significant fees. Others, meanwhile, moved on, in addition to the continuation of the typical loan system which the club has conducted over the past decade. Tuchel has already spoken of his excitement at making the move to Stamford Bridge, as he gets to work with his new team.

“My life was turned upside down in the past three days or so! It feels amazing to the new head coach of Chelsea and I’m really excited to be here. Me and my staff had the feeling that this was too good an opportunity not to take and personally I felt this was a chance I could not let go away,” he said.

Thomas Tuchel

LOTTE, GERMANY – MARCH 14: Thomas Tuchel head coach of of Borussia Dortmund before the DFB Cup quarter final between Sportfreunde Lotte and Borussia Dortmund at Sportpark am Lotter Kreuz on March 14, 2017 in Lotte, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

“We could not miss this opportunity to be part of this club and to be part of the Chelsea family. To work with this squad and compete in the toughest league in the Premier League and of course the Champions League is something we are excited to take on.”

“I met with the team yesterday and worked with them last night, so it was good to get straight to work and we are ready for a difficult game tonight. I’m super happy to be here and really excited to get to work.”

There is an expectation that Tuchel’s work with compatriots Timo Werner and Kai Havertz will prove to be more successful that what Frank Lampard was able to to achieve.

Azpilicueta moving on

The future of many Chelsea players will therefore be thrown into doubt over the months ahead, and there are already indications that some are planning moves out of the club. This includes long-serving defender Cesar Azpilicueta.

He arrived at Chelsea from Marseille in 2012, and has since made a significant impact in the capital, winning two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, League Cup and two Europa Leagues.

‘Azpi’ has also acted as a versatile player for the West London club, playing in the right and left back positions, in addition to an unorthodox central-defensive role at times. His consistency and leadership of course earned the stopper the position of club captain. Now, though, it appears that his time at Chelsea is nearing its end.

Athletic Club, more commonly known as Bilbao, are reportedly targeting the defender. Azpilicueta is of Basque descent, and therefore fulfills the unique criteria of the Spanish side. Athletic have become known for their policy of only signing Basque players. Their relationship with Chelsea, meanwhile, is already strong, following Kepa Arrizabalaga’s move to Stamford Bridge.

With the contract of Bayern Munich defender Javi Martinez expiring at the end of the season, he too could join Athletic, the club whom he left for Germany in 2012.

Athletic Club expected to target Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of summer transfer

MUNICH, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 19: Javi Martinez of FC Bayern Muenchen is pictured during a single training session at Saebener Strasse training ground on February 19, 2020 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern)

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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