Chelsea and Spain right-back Cesar Azpilicueta has not been afforded as much time on the pitch this season as one would expect following an impressive debut season with the club but is not interested in joining Serie A side Napoli to reunite with Rafael Benitez.
The 24-year-old is currently behind Branislav Ivanovic in the pecking order and has played more games on the other flank than he has in his preferred position of late so it’s understandable that there would be speculation over his future at Stamford Bridge.
He was a regular during Benitez’s interim reign at the West London club and was reportedly made a top target of the Spaniard’s for his new club Napoli. Azpilicueta has played down speculation over an exit and stresses that he’s focussed on playing for the Blues.
Azpilicueta told Spanish publication AS:
“Napoli? I do not imagine myself playing for a team other than Chelsea.
“I’m beginning to get good playing time, and I hope to play and win titles here.”
It seems Benitez and Napoli will have to look elsewhere for a right fullback but from a Chelsea perspective I’m not entirely sure why Azpilicueta, affectionately referred to as ‘Dave’ by supporters, has not played more games in Jose Mourinho’s side.
Mourinho was pretty quick to make it clear that Ivanovic would be his preferred option in that position and I get it from a tactical point of view but think there’s a way around it and think you’re adding a lot of things by having Azpilicueta in the side instead.
The Blues are not the biggest of sides at the top of the pitch so Ivanovic is often found giving air to Cech’s goal-kicks and does so fairly well as he’s probably one of the best headers of the ball in the league but that doesn’t mean we don’t have other players that could make themselves awkward when the ball’s in the air. I don’t think anyone can do that as well as Ivanovic but well enough, and it’s perhaps not something as decisive as a good cross or providing attacking width.
Azpilicueta is more your conventional fullback that does what he’s supposed to do defensively with the added bonus of stretching the play when he goes wide and his delivery is much better than the wayward Ivanovic. Quite often the fullback that joins the attack is the extra man so not having one that can do something with the time and space is a complete waste.
I’d like to see more of Azpilicueta as I don’t think he’s been given enough time to prove himself, otherwise he will look elsewhere.
Source: Sports Direct News