One player that Chelsea would be mad to miss out on, is hardly a household name, but has all the ingredients to become one in the future.
César Azpilicueta, at only 22, is on the fringes of the prestigious Spanish national side, and that is no easy feat, with the defensive masterminds of Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique, and Sergio Ramos to contend with.
He is beginning to become one of the hot properties in French football, and with his club Marseille languishing 9th in Ligue 1, he could well be set for an exit this summer.
The right-back is also rumoured to be unhappy at the French side, blaming the sale of Lucho Gonzalez for his side recent slump in form. Coincidence it may be, but since his sale in January, they haven’t picked up a solitary win domestically.
Chelsea have had their own problems defensively, which is why Azpilicueta could well be a good fit for the Blues. With doubts over Ivanovic, Cole and Luiz’s future at the club, the young Spaniard could well be a long-term solution for the leaky Londoners.
After bursting into the Osasuna set-up aged just 17, he followed up his U16 and U17 caps with 18 more at U19 level, including winning the UEFA European U19s Championship in 2007.
He fell one short of 100 appearances for Osasuna, before being snapped up by Marseille for 7million euros in 2010, which could rise to up to nearly 10million, depending on appearances for the French side.
He has since played 19 times for them, picking up the Trophée des Champions twice, as well as winning the UEFA European U21s Championship in 2011 with Spain.
At the tender age of 22, he may well stay in France for a couple more seasons, but if Europes big-boys come knocking, the sound of Champions League football may be too tempting to ignore.
Should he be available for purchase, Abramovich may well open the coffers to sign him, after shelling out around £22 million for David Luiz last year, a similar bid may well test Marseilles resolve, as they are unlikely to accept anything lower than £15m for the starlet, despite their poor season.
Player Rating : 9 – Impossible to tell he is only 22, sure to be among the best European defenders in the next 4 to 5 years.
Need for Full back: 5 – Ashley Cole is odds-on to stay, and Chelsea won’t let go of Ivanovic or Luiz without a struggle, so could well be fine in that department.
Affordable? : 7 – £20m is steep for the man, as I don’t think he is ready to cement a first-team place at Chelsea just yet, especially with the options already available.
Probability : 21/30
By Brad Smith
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