La Liga giants Barcelona are mulling over a move for out-of-favour Chelsea fullback Cesar Azpilicueta, according to reports in the Metro.
The Spaniard is expected to start in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup against Swindon but his only appearance up until now was during the goalless draw at Old Trafford as an 89th minute substitute.
Jose Mourinho prefers Branislav Ivanovic at right-back and made it clear that he would be his preferred choice early on. Even though the manager recently admitted he still didn’t know his best XI, he says he has no doubts over Ivanovic in particular and it seems as though the Serb is untouchable for now.
There’s a possibility that one of Barcelona’s own fullbacks Martin Montoya could be on his way to London in January to sign for Arsenal, so the Catalan club may seek to make the most of Azpilicueta’s marginalisation at Stamford Bridge.
Azpilicueta, 24, arrived at Chelsea from Marseille ahead of last season and enjoyed an impressive debut year and was the first choice in his position when Rafa Benitez was occupying an interim role at the club.
I wasn’t too keen on Azpilicueta before we signed him but was glad to see him prove me wrong last year, so am a little baffled as to why he hasn’t even been given an opportunity so far this season, especially as Ivanovic is not what I’d call a natural fullback and he doesn’t really provide the same width or ability going forward as Azpilicueta, which is absolutely vital in either a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3…unless you plan to lump it forward.
With all the talk surrounding Juan Mata and to a lesser extent David Luiz when they have been omitted from the side, Azpilicueta has become something of a forgotten man. Nothing against him as he’s a player that always gives his all but Ivanovic hasn’t played anywhere near as well as Mourinho suggests and had no defending to do in the last game, and he didn’t give anything going forward either. I thought that would have been a perfect opportunity to play Azpilicueta, especially at 0-0 when we were looking for width to unlock space.
He’ll get a chance tonight but no matter how well he plays it’ll ‘only be Swindon’ and he’ll have to pass greater tests should he usurp, or at least get fair time, up against Ivanovic. I wouldn’t want to see us losing good players.