Thomas Tuchel explains Cesar Azpilicueta absence amid Barcelona speculation

    Cesar Azpilicueta will soon become a Barcelona player, according to reports (Picture: Getty)
    Cesar Azpilicueta will soon become a Barcelona player, according to reports (Picture: Getty)

    Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has explained Cesar Azpilicueta’s absence from Thursday’s defeat to Charlotte FC, with the defender heavily linked to Barcelona.

    Azpilicueta, who turns 33 in August, will soon be a Barcelona player and is days away from signing for the La Liga giants, according to Spanish outlet Sport.

    Barcelona, who recently confirmed the signing of Robert Lewandowski, are hoping to sign Azpilicueta for around €5m (£4.3m) and with both sides out in the United States for pre-season, the Spain international could complete his medical there.

    Azpilicueta, who can operate as a right-back or centre-back, has been at Chelsea for the last decade – knocking up 476 appearances across all competitions – but feels the time is right for a fresh start.

    During his time at Stamford Bridge, Azpilicueta has won two Premier League titles, two Europa League titles, the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.

    He was missing from the pre-season loss to Charlotte FC as the Major League Soccer side won on penalties, with Tuchel explaining after the game that his absence was due to a knock.

    ‘Azpi had a big knock above his knee in his muscle, he ran into Edou, it was a training accident,’ Tuchel said.

    Chelsea FC v Charlotte FC - Pre-Season Friendly
    Thomas Tuchel watched his Chelsea side lose to Charlotte FC on Thursday (Picture: Getty)

    ‘If it was a Premier League match we would’ve taken the risk but the risk was too big that maybe he takes another hit and is maybe three or four days and it was not worth it.’

    Tuchel blasted Chelsea’s performance against Charlotte, admitting it was ‘not good enough’ and criticising the side’s lack of ‘precision’ and ‘decision making’.

    He was, however, happy with new signing Raheem Sterling’s performance.

    Meanwhile, Glen Johnson believes the Blues should go ‘all out’ for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice this summer and has responded to speculation linking Neymar with a move to west London.

    MORE : Thomas Tuchel responds to Timo Werner saying he’s not happy at Chelsea

    MORE : Frenkie de Jong responds to Chelsea after ruling out Man Utd move

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