A contract extension, set to keep Cesar Azpilicueta at Chelsea for the 2022-23 season, has been triggered through a required number of appearances, manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.
Azpilicueta was supposed to become a free agent at the end of this season, and several sources (mostly in Spain, but elsewhere too) pushed a narrative that he was about to join Barcelona as a free agent this summer. However, it seems the existence of the said clause wasn’t known to those who reported the stories.
Be that as it may, Chelsea are now in control of Azpilicueta’s employment until the summer of 2023, that much is certain at this point. There is still, of course, a chance for him to leave early, but Barcelona would have offer to pay a fee to secure his services if they are serious about it, and Chelsea would still be able to refuse the offer.
“Yes, it was so close, and it now happened,” Tuchel said. “It’s good news for us”.
“There are now very high chances that he will stay at Chelsea.”
It has been said that Barcelona were targeting Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen too. Both of them will indeed be free agents at the end of the season as things stand right now, and the Catalans are believed to already have an agreement in place with Christensen, while Rudiger still hasn’t made his mind up and is said to be weighing up several options. One of those is Barcelona.
The clarity over the situation will surely be most welcome for Chelsea amid many other uncertainties in relation to ownership currently troubling the club.