Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admits he is “little bit” annoyed by Barcelona’s pursuit of Cesar Azpilicueta.
After a decade at Stamford Bridge, the 32-year-old has 12 months left on his Chelsea contract and has reportedly asked to leave the team to join Barcelona in his native Spain.
Tuchel, on the other hand, is unsure whether he wants to give Azpilicueta “what he wants” and believes Barcelona have undervalued the defender, comparing his worth to that of recent Chelsea signing Kalidou Koulibaly, who signed for £33 million from Napoli earlier this month.
Tuchel responded, “Maybe a little bit.” when asked at the Universal Orlando Resort if the Spanish giants’ pursuit of Azpilicueta had irritated him.
Asked about the Spaniard’s future, Tuchel said: “It’s a tough question because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants.
“At some point it is about what we want. I just made the comparison about how much we fought for Koulibaly, who is a national team player and roughly the same age.
“He is a hugely important player for Napoli but we have a Spanish international who is the captain at Chelsea. I see him maybe at the same level but Barcelona don’t see him on that level. So I am not sure if I want to give him what he wants as he is a huge player.
“We don’t think so much about other clubs. The focus is on us and what we need. I said that to him and I say it to you that I understand on a personal and a career level. But I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what’s best for Chelsea.
“He doesn’t like it but he understands. It is tough for him because the other club is permanently on him. On September 1 when things calm down, then he can play on his highest level.”