Cesar Azpilicueta’s hopes of staying at Chelsea hit rocks over long- term contract demand as Barcelona target transfer


CESAR AZPILICUETA’S hopes of staying at Chelsea have hit the buffers over his contract demands. The club’s captain and longest-serving player want a long term deal - believed to be three years - whe his current one expires at the end of the season.

But at 32, Chelsea are unlikely to offer anything more than the standard one year extension to older players. There is a hope that loyal servant Azpilicueta could swing it with an option for a further 12 months beyond 2023.

 The Spanish defender has been at Chelsea since 2012 and has won every honour there is at club level since then. He is also a renowned fitness fanatic with an impeccable injury record who has barely missed a training session, let alone a match, in those nine years.

Even so, Chelsea have a tradition of only offering short term contracts to players over 30 regardless of their history with the club. Brazilian winger Willian went through the same process two years ago when he demanded a three- year deal at the age of 31.

Talks are set to continue and the player wants to stay in London - he is happy at the club and believes he still has lots to offer boss Thomas Tuchel.

 Chelsea are facing a growing headache over their defence with Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger all out of contract at the end of thi season. Barcelona want Azpilicueta but also have a huge interest in fellow centre-half Christensen.

 The Dane has even been recruited by a new agency with links to Nou Camp legend Lionel Messi as a firm hint he is on his way come May. Chelsea have been close to agreeing terms with Christensen only for negotiations to collapse at the last minute.

 The biggest issue is with prized defender Antonio Rudiger. The aggressive German is wanted by a string of top European Clubs, including Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Rudiger, 28, is yet to find a compromise to his demands for £200,000-a-week wages while Chelse initially offered £130k.

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