Exactly a week back we had quotes from Marseille's Sporting Director mentioning how they needed to sell this summer - which was basically an open letter for interested clubs to get in line and start bidding. After a few weeks of solid interest and speculation over a fee, it seems like we've actually gone one step further with our interest in Azpilicueta and tested the waters for ourselves.
We had concurrent stories out of England today which suggest a first bid was launched very recently, with £5.4M the quoted fee, depending on who you wish to believe. The bid was in fact promptly rejected by Marseille, with the club apparently keen to hold for at least £8M for the Spanish U23 international.
It may be noted that this approximation seems coherent with the previously mentioned [expected] fee of €8-10M. Marseille need the money, and it's pretty clear by now that Azpilicueta will be their main, if not only, source of funds for transfers this summer. The reports also suggest we're planning to bid again before the week's out, this time hopefully something a lot more agreeable and closer to OM's evaluation.
The fact that this bid was knocked back shouldn't actually mean a whole lot right now, if you ask me. Marseille didn't blink - I'd have been surprised if they had, but all the same, they've kept the asking price within reasonable reach. They're a club who could really use any sum a transfer brings their way, and if Ron Gourlay's conviction was anything to go by, it wouldn't be surprising to see this deal done & dusted within the fortnight, the quicker the better.
The most tangible thing to take from this? The target-identification phase for filling one of the biggest holes in our squad seems complete. We've finally switched from passive interest to active pursuit. Not sure if Johnny Kills reads WAGNH, but now would be a pretty good time for a nice little recommendation.