Azpilicueta ‘close to joining Barcelona’ as Chelsea face losing another defender

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta is inching closer to a move to Barcelona after agreeing a deal in principle with the Spanish side.

The 32-year-old is one of four Blues defenders whose contracts expire in the summer, with the futures of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva also up in the air.

Silva is expected to sign an extension in the coming weeks but Chelsea now have a fight on their hands to convince the others to stay put.

In January, all four of them will be allowed to speak with foreign clubs and could all leave for free in June if their futures aren't secured.

According to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero, Azpilicueta is "very close" to securing a move to Barcelona, with only a few "personal issues" left to iron out.

The versatile defender – who is halfway through his 10th season at Stamford Bridge – has been one of Chelsea's most reliable players in the last few years.

He led the side to Champions League glory in May and also has two Premier League winners medals under his belt.

He's one game shy of 450 appearances for the club and will go down in history as one the Blues' greatest ever defenders.

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Despite naturally being a right back, Azpilicueta has excelled in no less than four positions for Chelsea down the years.

The Spaniard won the league playing as a left back and as a centre back, and Thomas Tuchel has used him as wing-back at various points over the past year.

Few Chelsea players can rival his ruthless consistency and a gaping hole will be left in the side should he be allowed to leave.

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