Atletico Madrid draw up Cesar Azpilicueta back-up plan amid Kieran Trippier exit fears

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A lot of questions are, rightfully, being raised about Chelsea’s situation in regards to contracts of late. The Blues are set to lose Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta at the end of the season, and the latter is attracting interest from Atletico Madrid.

Newcastle are on the cusp of kickstarting their major rebuild, thanks to their new ownership, by signing Atletico fullback Kieran Trippier.

The Englishman is set to cost the Magpies £25million but will provide some much-needed experience and quality to Eddie Howe’s backline.

Trippier has made 107 Premier League appearances so far in his career at spells at Burnley and Tottenham, and the right-back will be hoping he can steer the Magpies to safety and continue to add to that tally in the coming seasons.

However, the move could come at the expense of Chelsea.

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According to Spanish news outlet AS, Atletico are looking at Blues captain Azpilicueta to replace Trippier at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Manager Diego Simeone is thought to be a big admirer of the Spanish defender, who has also been linked with a move to Barcelona too.

With Azpilicueta set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, this is the last opportunity that Chelsea will have to cash in on the 32-year-old, though it could leave Thomas Tuchel short of a right wing-back in the forthcoming weeks.

Reece James sustained a hamstring injury against Brighton and Hove Albion in late December and will be out for potentially months, meaning that Azpilicueta would be his replacement in the role for the foreseeable future.

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Speaking about the injury to England international James, Tuchel said: “Hamstring injury for Reece James, back injury for Christensen.

“We knew before that this would be a tough match, I have not seen many teams play a nice game against them (Brighton). We don’t know what we can demand from players after long injuries and Covid, I don’t know what they are capable of doing. The injury for Reece James was a huge blow.”

If Tuchel does not see Azpilicueta’s stay in London being extended past the summer then he may choose to accept Atletico’s offer – if one is tabled – and hope that some of his other defenders and wingers can fill in whilst James is nursing his injury.

And it isn’t just Azpilicueta who is in the final 12 months of his contract attracting interest from around Europe.

Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus have all opened talks with Rudiger about potentially signing the German on a pre-contract agreement, according to Sky Sports.

The defender has been immense for the Blues since Tuchel was appointed as a manager, proving rock solid in defence but also a goalscoring threat from set-pieces as well.

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Chelsea have made it clear that they would like the 28-year-old to remain with them and wants the defender to sign a contract extension with the club, just like his teammate Thiago Silva did on Monday.

It remains to be seen whether the Blues part ways with Rudiger and Azpilicueta at the end of the season, or if either of the pair are sold in this month’s transfer window.

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