Chelsea are facing a mounting crisis at centre-half after a report revealed they have suffered a triple blow in the department.
All three of Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger are due to become free agents in the summer. The trio have all played starring roles in Chelsea’s rise back to prominence under Thomas Tuchel. However, with under five months remaining on each of their contracts, it’s looking increasingly unlikely all three will stay.
Indeed, the latest on Rudiger suggested he and the club were poles apart over a contract extension.
Now, Spanish outlet Sport insist Barcelona have made a ‘lot of progress’ in their efforts to sign both Christensen and Azpilicueta.
Both players can be signed to pre-contract agreements, though Chelsea retain hope of tying the pair down to fresh contracts first.
Chelsea also have Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr on the first-team books. They would not be short of options if exits did occur, though Tuchel’s preferred back three system requires more depth at centre-half than most teams carry.
With uncertainty pervading their central defensive ranks, Chelsea have been linked with summer arrivals.
Indeed, Bayern Munich’s Niklas Sule is on their radar, while Sevilla’s Jules Kounde remains a top target.
Jules Kounde earmarked for starring Barcelona role
The Blues chased the Frenchman for much of the summer window. But with Sevilla under no pressure to sell, they insisted any suitors pay Kounde’s lofty release clause – something Chelsea were unwilling to do.
Nonetheless, Sky Sports Italia recently reported Chelsea were ahead of all their rivals on three different transfer pursuits. Kounde formed part of the proposed triple coup, though Sport now provide an alternative view.
The Spanish outlet state Kounde is quickly becoming one of Barcelona boss Xavi’s top summer targets.
Xavi is seeking to revamp his defensive line entirely, and if given his way, Kounde will join Azpilicueta and Christensen at the Camp Nou.
Adding further fuel to the fire is the claim Kounde would ‘bet on the Blaugrana project’ if they’re able to finance a deal. In other words, Kounde would…