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Chelsea’s César Azpilicueta the ‘favourite’ for Diego Simeone to replace Kieran Trippier at Atlético Madrid — report

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Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

César Azpilicueta is one of the several defenders without a contract for next season at the moment, but even if his future at the Bridge is not necessarily guaranteed (only 90 per cent), the Chelsea Captain surely won’t be going anywhere in January.

Suggesting otherwise should make any report or rumor look foolish, which is where Madrid’s Diario AS come in. They claim that not only is Azpilicueta a “favourite target” of Diego Simeone — understandable — but that Chelsea would be willing to negotiate a January exit to prevent him walking for free in the summer (when he may or may not have an “agreement in principle” in place with Barcelona). Atlético look set to lose Kieran Trippier this month, with the right back apparently heading back to the Premier League with Newcastle United.

While Azpi could certainly command a transfer fee of a few million still at this point in his career, letting him leave mid-season just for that relative pittance would be easily outweighed by the competitive and sporting benefits of him playing out the season with us. (And that’s assuming he wouldn’t sign an extension, which is still the far less likely outcome.) Our legends may not retire at the club these days, but they don’t leave midseason.

More like Diario AS IF!