“Maybe a cycle is at its end” – Thomas Tuchel admits yet another defender could be set to leave this summer

Chelsea players are dropping by the day these last couple of weeks.

First we had the news of Antonio Rudiger joining Real Madrid at the end of the season, then Thomas Tuchel confirmed Andreas Christensen is also off, likely to Barcelona. Now, Tuchel has admitted it looks like yet another defender could be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer.

Chelsea want to reopen talks to sign Ousmane Dembele this summer.

It’s not just any old defender either, it’s the long-serving club captain, Cesar Azpilicueta. Tuchel admits that the Spaniard is looking at his options this summer and might be at the end of his current cycle with the club.

The German boss says that he understands why Azpilicueta is thinking about leaving and will not stand in his way.

It looks and sounds like a decision has already been made by the right back, and that Tuchel is trying in vain still to talk him around. But at the end of the day, he and Chelsea will respect his decision.

“We had a lot of these talks because I think it felt like he won everything after the Club World Cup so I can understand these thoughts, that maybe a cycle is at its end,” Tuchel said via the Chelsea website.

“Then there’s also a change of ownership and he played only under this owner so maybe it increased his second thoughts about his situation.

“His extension kicked in at the same time and he loves the club, he loves the challenge and he loves to be here. He is our captain, we are still in dialogue and at some point we are also selfish because we are not responsible to solve any other club’s problems or to fulfil any other club’s wishes.

“Given the fact that we lose key defenders already, it’s not the ideal scenario to think about losing Azpi, even though I can understand his personal point of view. At some point, if you are a legend which he is, you deserve from me and the club a second look at it, to see if there’s maybe an exception from the rule and we are still in this process.

“I would hope strongly [that he stays] and he knows this but we are still in the talks to find out the ideal solution.

“He is everything Chelsea is about and I’m so happy that he’s the captain because he’s humble, hard-working and a nice, polite guy. I’m happy it sets the example, the tone and the atmosphere on the very highest level.

“I’m very happy that it’s possible in football for a guy like this to win all the trophies and to really succeed at the top level.

“This is absolutely clear but there are more layers that we have to consider. He gives all of that if he’s fully committed but if now is maybe the time for him and he cannot get rid of this feeling then we have to talk about it openly, seriously and respectfully because he deserves that.

“We have to find out if he can give all of what makes him special because he can only be special if he is committed 100 per cent and has not one little second voice in his head. That is his foundation so this is what we have to find out.

“There’s no need for us to find it out today or tomorrow. We still have time because we are also in the privileged position that we have a contract so let’s see and maybe also he needs to find out for himself.”

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