Thomas Tuchel has admitted he is growing tired of Barcelona’s pursuit of Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, and the Blues could end up keeping him this summer.
Barça have made little secret of their desire to add Azpilicueta – who has asked Chelsea to let him leave on a cut-price deal – to their ranks having already signed Andreas Christensen from them on a free transfer this window.
But Tuchel has said that the two clubs’ completely differing valuations of the 32-year-old means any deal is at risk of collapse.
“It’s a tough question because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants. At some point it is about what we want. I just made the comparison about how much we fought for [Kalidou] Koulibaly, who is a national team player and roughly the same age,” Tuchel said.
“He is a hugely important player for Napoli but we have a Spanish international who is the captain at Chelsea. I see him maybe at the same level but Barcelona don’t see him on that level. So I am not sure if I want to give him what he wants as he is a huge player.
“We don’t think so much about other clubs. The focus is on us and what we need. I said that to him and I say it to you that I understand on a personal and a career level. But I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what’s best for Chelsea.
“He doesn’t like it but he understands. It is tough for him because the other club is permanently on him. On the first of September when things calm down, then he can play on his highest level.”
When asked if he was annoyed at Barcelona’s push for Azpilicueta, he replied: “Maybe a little bit.”
Listen now to 90min’s Talking Transfers podcast, with Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth. On the latest show they discuss Chelsea finally closing in on Jules Kounde, Man Utd’s ongoing pursuit of Frenkie de Jong, West Ham’s hunt for a new forward and left-back and more. Available on all audio platforms.
If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!
90min understands that Jules Kounde is finally close to sealing a move to Chelsea, and while Tuchel remained tight-lipped about that transfer, he did reveal he would like to add a left-sided defender to his ranks too.
“We are looking of course for people who can play on the left side,” Tuchel continued. “To be honest, Antonio [Rudiger] played on the left side and he is not left footed. Maybe Kalidou can play there because he plays in a back four on the left side.
“Let’s see what’s possible. It is not only about bringing in players for numbers. We need numbers but we need also quality so we will make some decisions late. Not only on quality but system.”