Thomas Tuchel: Cesar Azpilicueta’s contract extension good news for Chelsea

The defender has been linked with a move to Barcelona.

Thomas Tuchel hopes Cesar Azpilicueta will sign a new deal at Chelsea (Frank Augstein/PA)

By Nick Purewal, PA

Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea have thwarted Barcelona’s attempts to sign Cesar Azpilicueta, after the Blues skipper triggered an extension to his Stamford Bridge contract.

Chelsea boss Tuchel confirmed Azpilicueta’s one-year contract addition, that has been triggered by an appearance-related clause.

Barcelona expect to sign Andreas Christensen from Chelsea on a free transfer this summer, were hopeful of recruiting Azpilicueta too – and this week have met with Toni Rudiger’s agents.

Tuchel believes the Catalan giants will be unable to pull off a triple swoop on Chelsea defenders however, with the German now tipping Azpilicueta to extend his stay in west London beyond the summer.

Thomas Tuchel, pictured, expects Cesar Azpilicueta to be at Chelsea next season (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

Asked about Azpilicueta’s contract extension, Tuchel replied: “Yes, I knew it was going to happen because I knew the amount of games when it was going to happen. It’s a good thing; it’s good news for us.”

Asked if he expects Azpilicueta to be at Chelsea next season, Tuchel continued: “Yes, absolutely. We have a contract, he’s our captain, so there’s a very high probability that he will stay.

“I knew it all the time that this is very likely to happen. He’s a regular starter for us. You know how much I rely on him and how much impact he has on this club and this group. So it’s very good for us.”

Denmark international Christensen still remains out of contract at the end of the season however, and is expected to join Barcelona.

The Catalan bosses have hinted that a deal for Christensen is already done, but Tuchel remained coy on his situation.

Andreas Christensen is expected to join Barcelona in the summer (Joe Giddens/PA)

“We heard the rumours, we heard the same rumours,” said Tuchel.

“I have no confirmation for you because I did not speak to A about it at the moment. But we heard the same rumours.”

Barca representatives have met with Rudiger’s agents this week, but Tuchel has refused to give up hope of convincing the Germany international to commit his future to the Blues.

Chelsea cannot sign or sell any players under the terms of their current UK Government licence, in light of owner Roman Abramovich’s Downing Street sanctions.

Abramovich was sanctioned by the Government on March 10, with four rival consortiums now battling to win the race to buy the Stamford Bridge club.

Toni Rudiger is out of contract at Chelsea at the end of the season (John Walton/PA)

The Blues cannot sign any players to new contracts either, though Azpilicueta’s extension was through a pre-existing clause.

But Tuchel still believes Chelsea could keep hold of Rudiger, once the ongoing takeover battle is complete in the summer.

“I would try to meet him if I were any other club,” said Tuchel, of Rudiger.

“Still he’s our player and I still think we have a good chance he stays our player once things are solved for us.

“Our hands are tied, we cannot offer him or negotiate or renegotiate with his agents. But I’m still confident.”

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