First of all, this is certainly not a grilling of Cesar Azpilicueta.
Azpilicueta, who’s just made his 500th appearance in Chelsea colours, has already cemented himself as one of the greatest defenders the club has ever owned.
The 33-year-old defender continues to bring leadership, versatility and know-how to the squad at Stamford Bridge.
However, the writing must be on the wall for his time with the Blues.
In our view, the signing of Malo Gusto from Lyon on Sunday signals that Azpilicueta’s spell in west London will soon come to an end.
Azpilicueta, who earns £150,000-a-week, has played fairly regularly this season with 24 appearances across all competitions.
The Spain international is never going to lack commitment when he steps past that white line, but you can notice there’s been a decline in his game as he grows older. For example, his one-on-one defending against quick wingers has become a lot more difficult to rely on.
Graham Potter has had to use him a lot due to Reece James’ injury, something which is beyond his control. It does feel like a weak area of the pitch when he plays now, though.
For us, Chelsea will surely listen to offers for Azpilicueta at the end of the season.
Gusto, 19, has joined the Blues this weekend and links up with the squad in the summer after finishing the campaign on loan with Lyon.
The French teenager looks ideal to push and compete with Reece James at right-back, so it’s hard to picture where Azpilicueta actually fits into the picture.
Azpilicueta deserves the fondest of farewells if he leaves, and it’s a deal that makes sense for both parties.
SPORT claimed this week that Barcelona are keen on signing the Chelsea skipper in the summer.
The full-back is still under contract at the Bridge until 2024, but cashing in on him at the end of the season feels like a no-brainer.
Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.