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The Rumour Mill – César Azpilicueta

Azpilicueta in action for Marseille

The chase for a right back to replace Danny Simpson has intensified with rumours circulating that the club has shown interest in Marseille’s César Azpilicueta.

Although Chelsea are also in the running, di Matteo could opt to sign Inter Milan’s Maicon instead to fill their vacancy at right back. With that in mind, it is certainly worth keeping tabs on the young Spaniard.

The 22 year old put in some good performances for OM despite their disappointing mid-table finish last season. Similarly to Nathaniel Clyne, he is a player in his early twenties who looks destined to earn a number of caps in the foreseeable future.

Despite his potential, it is clear that Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy is the fans’ first choice, with his age meaning that he should find it easier to adapt to the quality of the Premier League. However, we face stiff competition for the Frenchman, with Chelsea also considering him as an option. Therefore, it’s important that alternatives are jotted down if our main target does become unavailable.

As you can see, it looks as though Champions League winners Chelsea could dictate which right back we sign. I feel the Blues are more likely to snap up a more established right back than Azpilicueta given their tendancy to splash the cash on Europe’s finest footballers. Mathieu Debuchy has fast become one of these household names. If they do remain true to their transfer policy, the 22 year old could be up for grabs with little to no competition, whilst a deal for Debuchy could become extremely unlikely.

For now, let’s remain optimistic that the Frenchman will be arriving at St James’ Park in the next few weeks. But at the same time, an insurance option must be prepared. Azpilicueta is a talented player who has had the huge advantage of being nurtured by the Spanish youth system from U16 to U23 level.

What excites me about Azpilicueta is that, just like many of our successful signings, he was a relative unknown outside of his playing nation until recently. After all, if our scouts are monitoring, surely he’s worth a shot?

Current Ability: 3/5

Potential: 4/5

Likelihood of signing: 2/5 (could increase if Chelsea opt for an alternative)

Transfer value: £6-7 million

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