Chelsea have offered closer to Antonio Rudiger’s £200,000-a-week ($271,000) wage demands in another bid to keep him as the club are keen not to lose too many defenders this summer.
The Germany international is yet to agree terms with the Blues, while Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are still interested and able to offer a large signing-on fee as well as competitive salary packages.
Bayern Munich have ended their interest in Rudiger and are instead pushing to sign Andreas Christensen, who is their primary target to replace Borussia Dortmund-bound Niklas Sule in the summer.
The Blues have identified Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo as a serious transfer target.
The 21-year-old Uruguay international has 18 months left on his deal with the Catalan giants but is frustrated in his own contract renewal talks.
He becomes the latest potential signing for the Blues in the summer, with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Leicester’s Wesley Fofana also high up on the shortlist.
Chelsea will have to sign more than one top defender this summer if they lose two of their automatic starters, although they have been impressed with the progress of Levi Colwill, who is on loan at Huddersfield. He could be another option for Thomas Tuchel’s squad next season.
Brighton’s Marc Cucurella has also emerged as a target at wing-back, although any interest hinges on Marcos Alonso’s future. The latter has just under 18 months left on his current deal.
Barcelona remain confident of taking the Blues captain away from Stamford Bridge.
The Spain international’s deal expires in the summer, just like those of both Rudiger and Christensen.
Having been asked about his future ahead of the Blues’ FIFA Club World Cup semi-final with Al Hilal at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Azpilicueta said: “I’m not going to speak about my future. We are one day before the semi-final of the tournament.
“Of course, I arrived in the summer of 2012 and I didn’t have kids. My kids were born in London and you know how I feel about Chelsea. But I am not going to comment on my future.”
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