Reports emerged some weeks ago of Chelsea having a potential extension built into César Azpilicueta’s (previously, as it turns out) expiring contract, and it looks like that has indeed been the case, with the Telegraph’s Matt Law confirming earlier reports from Spain that the unilateral option has now “kicked in”.
It’s not specified what the exact condition was for the club to be able to exercise the option (category: yes; exact number: no), but that’s immaterial really since it was at least agreed, if not already done before the sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich and, in turn, Chelsea, and thus able to be implemented.
As reported by @mundodeportivo - Cesar Azpilicueta's Chelsea contract extension, which was agreed ahead of sanctions and not because of the threat of them etc, has kicked in because he has made certain amount of appearances this season. It doesn't necessarily mean he will stay— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) March 29, 2022
Spanish media of course remain very convinced that Azpilicueta will eventually end up at Barcelona before next season, just as they have been since the turn of the year — “yes or yes” — and Law also very much leaves open that possibility.
Basically, it’s the Olivier Giroud situation from last year, whose contract was also unilaterally extended before being allowed to join AC Milan for a token fee — though given Azpi’s legendary status at the club, we possibly wouldn’t even charge a penny.