There will be many defenders that can be signed for free next summer. Dennis Zakaria is one of them, and so is Matthias Ginter, along with a whole lot of others. But Barcelona’s interest is clear. The Blaugrana have reached a personal agreement with Cesar Azpilicueta. The 32-year old could arrive at the end of the season at the request of Xavi. The manager’s best bet seems to be the Chelsea defender. This is as a result of the advantages attached to the acquisition of the Spanish defender.
Azpilicueta at Chelsea
After a two-year stint in France, Azpilicueta moved to England in 2012. Despite Chelsea’s signing of different defenders, the Spaniard’s role has been undisputed. He has been integral to Chelsea’s success in recent years, especially in their Champions League winning campaign. Despite his age, Azpilicueta still finished 29th in the 2021 Ballon d’Or ranking. This is a feat that makes him the 5th best defender in the world. A feat that acknowledges his exceptional performance.
With Spain, Azpilicueta has also become an important player under Luis Enrique. This is as a result of his ability to thrive with the young players. Leading by example has also been another reason.
The advantages of Barcelona’s signing of Azpilicueta
Apart from the fact that Azpilicueta will be signed for free, there are two advantages that make his signing a reasonable one. The first will be his all-round defensive performance. And the second will be his commitment to leading his team.
In terms of being an all-round defender, Azpilicueta possesses one quality that no Barcelona defender currently has. As on of the most complete defenders, the Spaniard can play anywhere in defence. The defender is a player who often avoids being beaten. This has seen him win more tackles this season in the Premier League. He has been better in tackling than Barcelona defenders like Ronald Araujo and Gerard Pique. And even when he is more concerned about the defense, he is also a weapon in attack. He can play as a right-wing back and help the attack. These are qualities that will be very useful for Xavi, who will be demanding more from his defenders.
Just like how Dani Alves will provide impetus for the team, Azpilicueta’s inclusion would be to serve the same purpose. For a Barcelona team that needs to regain their winning mentality back, the Chelsea defender is the best option. Azpilicueta has the leadership qualities to propel Barcelona. He would bring more experience to the team and lead by example.
Barcelona have a good number of quality defenders, which makes the interest in Azpilicueta surprising. The major concern would be the Chelsea defender’s age, which hasn’t undermined his abilities. He may not be a starter under Xavi, but could be a good back-up and an experienced player for big matches. Xavi’s intention at Barcelona has been obvious. It is to blend the youngsters with the veterans. Azpilicueta would be another top player who would provide experience and help the team technically. His adaptability into the team will definitely not be a problem.