Thomas Tuchel admitted Chelsea are “still in talks” on Cesar Azpilicueta’s future, with Barcelona upholding interest in the Stamford Bridge skipper.
Azpilicueta triggered an automatic, appearance-related one-year extension to his contract at the end of March, thwarting Barcelona’s chances of recruiting the 32-year-old on a free transfer.
Tuchel at the time praised the importance of that extension, given Azpilicueta’s experience and influence at the west London club.
Now, however, the Blues manager has conceded Chelsea are still in discussions with Azpilicueta, even though the German coach still wants the Spain right-back to stay put at Stamford Bridge.
Asked if he still hopes that Azpilicueta will stay despite outside interest, Tuchel replied: “I would hope strongly, he knows this, he knows it. We are still in the talks to find out the ideal solution.
“We had a lot of these talks because very genuinely it felt like he won everything after the Club World Cup, then suddenly given his personal situation I can understand these thoughts that maybe a cycle is at its end.
“Then it’s a change of ownership and he played only under this owner, in this structure, so it maybe increased even his second thoughts about his situation.
“But then his extension kicked in at the same time and he loves the club, he loves the challenge, he loves to be here and he is our captain. So we are still in a dialogue.”
Azpilicueta joined Chelsea in 2012 and has since completed a clean sweep of all the major trophies on offer to a top European club.
The 38-cap Spain star could yet have just two more matches in Chelsea blue, should he leave west London this summer.
But Tuchel insisted Chelsea will not come to the aid of any other club, especially with Rudiger and Christensen already departing at the end of the campaign.
“At some point we are also selfish, we are not responsible to solve any other club’s problems or to fulfil any other club’s wishes,” said Tuchel.
“Given the fact we lose already key defenders, it’s not the ideal scenario to think about losing Azpi, even if I can understand his personal point of view.
“At some point if you are a legend, which he is, you deserve maybe also from me and the club, a second look at it, is there is maybe an exception from the rule and we are still in this process.
“He deserves it (to be heard). I listen to my captain. He has been at this club for more than a decade so he has this right. This is my opinion.
“What he has done is outstanding. He has won every single trophy with this club. He was not the captain before but he has this mentality.
“He is a helper. A true helper on the pitch, Everybody loves to play next to him on the pitch because you can be sure that he does everything to make the team look good. He does not care if he looks good.
“I am very happy that players like this can actually prove it with all the trophies that he won that you can succeed at the top level by being this way.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe