Barcelona are reportedly interested in Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta this summer after finally ending their pursuit of Arsenal star and former La Masia graduate Hector Bellerin.
According to the Daily Mirror, Barça were willing to pay £30m for the Catalan right-back but have decided against making an approach after Arsenal formally requested through written communication that the La Liga side stop attempting to unsettle one of their players.
The newspaper’s story then goes on to claim that Azpilicueta is now being viewed as a target at Camp Nou instead.
The 27-year-old, from the Navarre region of northern Spain, earned rave reviews during Chelsea’s title winning season in 2016/17 and has been one of the west London club’s best and most consistent players ever since he joined from Marseille in 2012.
Capable of playing as a full-back on either side or in a back-three, Azpilicueta certainly offers greater versatility than Bellerin and that is also important in light of Barcelona’s agreement to sign Portuguese right-back Nelson Semedo from Benfica.
Barça announced on Thursday night that a deal pending medical tests, believed to be worth €30m, is in place for Semedo to make the switch from Lisbon and he has already arrived in the city on Friday morning to complete the final details of the transfer.
With Semedo joining, Barça have finally sorted their long problematic right-back position, but Azpilicueta would bring greater depth to whole of the defence.