Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta is set to become a target for Barcelona following confirmation of Antonio Rudiger’s move from Roma.
Rudiger wrapped up his switch to Stamford Bridge yesterday as Antonio Conte finally landed one of his top summer transfer targets, but the joy may be short-lived if reports in Spain over Barca’s interest in Azpilicueta are true.
Cadena Cope journalist Manolo Lama has claimed Barca are keen to sign Azpilicueta as an upgrade at right-back, where they have struggled to fill the sizable void left by Dani Alves’ departure last summer.
Alves’ replacement Sergi Roberto has been unable to convince fans in the position, prompting Barca to turn their attentions to former La Masia academy graduate Hector Bellerin, but Arsenal have made clear he is not for sale.
As a result, the La Liga side have started drawing up a list of alternative targets, with Azpilicueta heading up the potential targets this summer.
The arrival of Rudiger, who is able to play on the right-hand side and in the centre of defence is expected to increase the possibility of a move, with Chelsea now possessing another player who can operate in either position.
Azpilicueta has previously revealed his pride at being linked with the former European champions but Conte will be loathe to lose such an influential member of his 2016/17 title-winning side and big money would be expected for the Spaniard.
But new Barca boss Ernesto Valverde is a big fan of Azpilicueta and is ready to sanction a big-money move to snare him away from Stamford Bridge.