Dropping off the pace in the Premier League will surely have been a real worry for Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea’s players, but that isn’t the only issue he needs to resolve at present.
Ahead of the January transfer window, the German has a number of his first-team who are coming towards the end of their contracts, and there doesn’t appear to be too much movement towards getting pen put onto paper.
What’s more worrying for Tuchel is that the players are all in the same area of the pitch; defence.
According to The Athletic, Antonio Rudiger virtually has one foot out of the Stamford Bridge exit door, and will be a huge loss if a reported move to Real Madrid, per The Guardian, comes to fruition at the end of the current campaign.
Andreas Christensen, despite appearing to want to stay with the Blues, hasn’t yet fully committed to them, and whilst there’s still a good chance he could stay put, the fact that conversations haven’t progressed has to be a concern.
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Chelsea then could well do without their reliable captain, Cesar Azpilicueta, falling for Barcelona’s charms.
Though the Catalans aren’t in the best shape at present, they’re still in the ‘world’s best’ bracket, and with Xavi Hernandez at the helm, a player that Azpilicueta knows well, a move to the Camp Nou could appeal.
The Athletic note that the player still hasn’t entered into negotiations with his current employers despite appearing to be willing to do so, and all the while the status quo remains, Barca have to believe that they’re in with a chance.
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Given their own defensive issues, having someone of Azpilicueta’s experience and ability would be of obvious benefit to the La Liga giants, and were he available on a free transfer, it makes such a deal even more enticing.