Sports FOOTBALL Chelsea Azpilicueta signed a two-year contract with Barcelona

Chelsea Azpilicueta signed a two-year contract with Barcelona


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Cesar Azpilicueta has signed an extension to his Chelsea contract until 2024, ending Barcelona’s attempts to sign him.

Todd Boly repeatedly refused to authorize the sale and offered the Chelsea captain a new two-year contract, one year more than was on the table before he took over. Barcelona was informed on Thursday.

Negotiations for a new deal stalled with Chelsea only offering a one-year contract, with the defender wondering if it was time to move on after a decade in which he led them to the Champions League title.

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His existing contract was due to expire at the end of last season but included a clause that allowed the club to extend him for a year if he played at least 45 minutes in 30 games. Azpilicueta believed he had a promise that they would not, but an extra season was launched and when Boeli took over about two months later, he told Azpilicueta that he did not want to lose his captain and leader.

In mid-July, Thomas Tuchel said he was “a little” annoyed by Barcelona and admitted that Azpilicueta wanted to leave. But the manager said, “I’m not sure I want to give Aspie what he wants. At some point, it’s about what we want.”

The conversations continued, as did the uncertainty. Barcelona did not give up. Chelsea said they wanted a fee in excess of the £6.2m they paid Marseille for him in 2012, asked for guarantees that Barcelona could sign Azpilicueta and asked for time to find a replacement. They also declined to include him in any other potential deals, including discussions of Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Azpilicuete was told that they could not let him go.

Leicester have turned down a £60m offer from Chelsea for Wesley Fofan. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images/Reuters

Former Arsenal striker Aubameyang is shortlisted for Chelsea forwards, as is highly regarded young Red Bull Salzburg striker Benjamin Cesko. Negotiations were held with representatives of Aubameyang, but no proposals were made.

Chelsea also stepped up their pursuit of Wesley Fofana with a £60m offer for the defender, which was rejected by Leicester. The club is expected to take another step in favor of Fofana, who is known to want the move, but Leicester’s position is that he is not for sale.

Chelsea’s move to sign Brighton’s Mark Cucurella for over £60m is nearing completion after the Spaniard completed his medical. The London side will pay £55m up front with an additional £7m payout and defender Levi Colville will join Brighton on loan next season.

Karni Chukwuemeka completed his £20m move from Aston Villa by signing a six-year contract on Thursday morning. The 18-year-old midfielder underwent treatment on Wednesday after the clubs agreed on a fee on Tuesday. Numerous other clubs wanted Chukwuemeka after he made it clear to Villa that he would not renew his contract, which was due to expire next June.

Much of the elite in England and Germany made inquiries, with Barcelona and Milan leading the race until the middle of last week. But while Boli was negotiating, Chelsea quickly secured a deal. Chukwuemeka, who made 14 Premier League appearances for Villa – two first-team – is best known for his technical and creative qualities.

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