Barcelona have opened initial talks to sign Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta, according to reports in Spain.
Sport claim that Barca are prioritising a transfer which will strengthen the right side of their defence and still have Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin as their first-choice signing.
But Azpilicueta is Barca’s main alternative and their technical secretary, Robert Fernandez, has ‘already started’ negotiations for the Chelsea defender.
Barca’s new boss Ernesto Valverde is also a huge admirer of Azpilicueta and had tried to sign the 27-year-old for Athletic Bilbao.
Sport also claim that Azpilicueta has attracted interest from Manchester City but Chelsea are not willing to sell to a Premier League rival.
Antonio Conte also has no plans to sell the Spain international as he has been integral to Chelsea’s success this season.
Azpilicueta played every minute of Chelsea’s title-winning campaign in the Premier League and was a key part in the team’s smooth transition to a back three in October.
And it is Azpilicueta’s versatility which makes him such an attractive option for Barcelona as Valverde ideally wants a signing who can play at right-back and can adapt to a back three.