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Barcelona hint at hurting Chelsea again as Xavi sets sights on ‘very, very good players


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Barcelona chief Joan Laporta has admitted that he and Xavi are huge admirers of Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, who have been widely tipped to join the Catalan heavyweights over the course of this summer. The Blues have already lost Andreas Christensen to Barcelona since the end of last season, with the Dane failing to renew his previous deal at Stamford Bridge prior to his exit on a free transfer.

Barcelona went on to secure the services of long-term Chelsea target Jules Kounde by hijacking the west London club’s pursuit of the defender, who had reached an agreement to join them before opting for a move to Spain at the eleventh hour. It seems as though Laporta could now be looking to hit Chelsea with another demoralising blow by launching a raid for Azpilicueta and Alonso after revealing his interest in the pair in an interview with CBS Sports.

“We have a good relationship [with Chelsea and] Todd Boehly is an extraordinary person,” said Laporta when quizzed on the topic. “We have had this necessity to be active in the transfer market in order to improve our squad.

“And it just so happens that some of the players they wanted, we did also. Those players wanted to come to Barcelona because they believe in our project, our history, our style of playing and our coach, Xavi is important.

“They [Azpilicueta and Alonso] are under contract at Chelsea and we respect this as well as the new owner. I don’t want to talk about players who belong to other teams.

“I respect Cesar and Marcos as footballers. They are very, very good players, they show their quality and talent at Chelsea, but I don’t want to talk about them as a matter of respect for Chelsea.”

It remains to be seen whether Barcelona will firm up their interest in Azpilicueta and Alonso over the coming weeks as Xavi looks to fine-tune his squad in advance of the new La Liga campaign. Azpilicueta’s long-term future at Chelsea was called into question towards the end of last season, with his current deal in west London set to expire next summer.

He is thought to be keen on the idea of joining Barcelona in order to return to his country of birth, while Alonso shares a similar view and is said to have already spoken to the five-time European champions regarding a potential move to the Nou Camp. Recent reports have suggested that Chelsea could refuse to negotiate with Barcelona, though, as a result of their fury over missing out on a move for Kounde after the Spanish club’s late swoop.

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