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    • #5991
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      BARCELONA have reportedly already “started talks” over a deal to sign Chelsea star Cesar Azpilicueta.

      Ernesto Valverde was officially unveiled as Barca's new head coach on Monday, replacing Luis Enrique at the Nou Camp.

      And, according to Spanish outlet Sport, he is desperate to bolster his options at right-back with Sergi Roberto primarily a midfielder and Aleix Vidal's future uncertain.

      Arsenal star Hector Bellerin is said to have been Barca's priority target in that position but Valverde's arrival has apparently seen the Catalan outfit step up their interest in Azpilicueta, 27.

      He reportedly tried to sign the 18-cap Spain international during his time in charge of Athletic Bilbao.

      Sport claim Robert Fernandez, Barca's technical secretary, is already in talks over a deal to take Azpilicueta to the Nou Camp.

      They suggest the Blues will demand around £26m to let him leave Stamford Bridge, apparently making him a much cheaper option than Bellerin.

      Barca could reportedly face familiar competition in their pursuit of the defender with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said to have also enquired about a move.

      But Sport suggest Chelsea would much rather sell Azpilicueta to Barca than a domestic rival.

      The former Marseille man played a key role for the Blues as they romped to the Premier League title under Antonio Conte this season.

      He thrived in a new-look back three, slotting in at centre-back alongside David Luiz and Gary Cahill.

      Azpilicueta played every minute of Chelsea's league campaign, making him only the fourth outfield player to do so for a title-winning team.

      There are still three years left to run on his contract in west London after he penned fresh terms in December.

      Source: Dailystar

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