Azpilicueta, Alonso bound for Barcelona in potential four-player swap deal
Chelsea are reportedly open to a four-player swap deal with Barcelona which would see skipper Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso both head to Catalonia this summer.
The Spanish duo have been strongly linked with the LaLiga giants for some time, with Barca boss Xavi known to have made Azpilicueta and Alonso ‘priority objectives’ for his side.
That will almost certainly lead to a defensive overhaul at Stamford Bridge, with Antonio Rudiger already having agreed to join Real Madrid at the end of the season.
Another Blues defender, Andreas Christensen, is also being tipped to head to the Nou Camp.
That will leave Tuchel woefully short of options at the back and lead to some major transfer business this summer.
Azpilicueta and Alonso have both been regular starters under Tuchel. However, their current contract situation means an exit could still be on the cards, as reported in the Daily Express.
The 32-year-old Azpilicueta was set to become a free agent this summer but a one-year extension was triggered on his deal.
That will mean Barcelona having to negotiate over a deal with Chelsea for the veteran star. A similar situation is also brewing with Alonso, who has just over a year left on his contract.
At this stage, there’s been no indication that a new deal is on the cards. Indeed, speculation has been rife over a bust-up between Alonso and Tuchel during last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Wolves.
Two Barca stars could head in opposite direction
That could well lead to an exit for the left-back, with Spanish outlet Sport claiming Barcelona have ‘total conviction’ an agreement will soon be reached for the transfers of both Alonso and Azpilicueta.
The report adds that the defenders will be offered a three-year deal and a two-year contract, with the option of a third-year respectively.
However, in return, Chelsea have identified Barca full-back Sergino Dest as a possible makeweight.
The USA international full-back signed from Ajax in 2020, but there have been suggestions the 21-year-old could be offloaded.
Barca are said to value Dest in excess of £17m, which could make a swap deal tricky. However, Brazilian goalkeeper Neto has also been mentioned as heading in the opposite direction too.
That would appear to indicate that Chelsea could try and cash in on Kepa and then have Neto as back-up to Edouard Mendy.
Major issues on the horizon for Tuchel
Chelsea’s takeover really does need to go through as soon as possible for Tuchel to start working out what he will do with his defence next season.
Losing Rudiger is bad enough but adding Azpilicueta, Christensen and Alonso to that mix is potentially disastrous.
The loss of the later should be offset by the return of Ben Chilwell from a long-term injury. However, the other two are solid rotational pieces in Tuchel’s back-line and would take some replacing.
Torino star Gleison Bremer, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Villarreal’s Pau Torres have all been mentioned as potential incomings.
However, none of those players will come cheap and it could be argued that the Blues will need to sign two at least, given that Thiago is aging and unable to play every game.
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