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Barcelona director lifts lid on Cesar Azpilicueta pursuit

Barcelona director lifts lid on Cesar Azpilicueta pursuit
© Reuters
Barcelona director Mateu Alemany claims that the club had an agreement on personal terms with Cesar Azpilicueta before he signed a new contract at Chelsea.

Barcelona director Mateu Alemany has revealed that the club had an agreement on personal terms with Cesar Azpilicueta before the defender signed a new deal at Chelsea.

Azpilicueta was initially due to become a free agent in the summer of 2023, leading to intense speculation surrounding a move to the Catalan giants.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel had confirmed his desire to keep the 32-year-old on the books, though, and Chelsea soon began negotiations with Azpilicueta over a new deal.

On Thursday, Chelsea confirmed that they had extended Azpilicueta's contract until the summer of 2024, ending Barcelona's hopes of signing him in the current window.

However, Alemany has claimed that Azpilicueta was keen on a move to Camp Nou and had given the green light to personal terms, but Chelsea were not prepared to lose their captain.

Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta reacts after the match on April 20, 2022© Reuters

"We had an agreement with Azpilicueta on personal terms but Chelsea didn't want to sell him," Alemany told the press, as quoted by journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Barcelona have already spent big this summer despite their financial problems, bringing in Raphinha, Jules Kounde and Robert Lewandowski alongside Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie.

Alemany has confirmed that the cash-strapped Catalans are still active in the transfer market, adding: "We have other options but I can't mention any name."

Azpilicueta's new contract at Chelsea will take him up to 12 years at Stamford Bridge should he see out his new terms, during which time he has scored 17 goals and set up 55 more in 474 appearances.

The ex-Marseille man spoke of his delight at signing a new deal with Chelsea earlier this week, telling the official Blues website: "I am really happy to extend my stay at Chelsea, my home.

Cesar Azpilicueta in action for Chelsea in January 2022© Reuters

"It is almost 10 years since I first arrived and joined the club so I really feel the love and I am really excited for the new project we have in our hands.

'I would like to say thank you to Mr Todd [Boehly] and Mr Behdad [Eghbali] for giving me the opportunity to keep my journey at this amazing club and I am really looking forward to continuing our adventure. I am a really proud captain and I hope we can share many good memories together."

Barcelona are still thought to be in the hunt for a new left-back before the transfer window closes but are reportedly set to miss out on reported target Angelino, who is expected to join Hoffenheim from RB Leipzig.

While Chelsea have sorted out Azpilicueta's future, the signing of Marc Cucurella from Brighton & Hove Albion could accelerate Marcos Alonso's exit in the coming weeks.

Alonso has also entered the final year of his deal with the capital club, and Barcelona are now reported to be closing in on a deal to sign the 31-year-old.

However, Barcelona are yet to register any of their new arrivals with La Liga, and they are supposedly set to sell a further 24.5% of Barca Studios to receive another cash injection of €100m (£84.4m).

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