Azpilicueta's renewal with Chelsea leaves the Blaugrana coach without one of his primary targets
There's been an unexpected turn of events. Chelsea announced on Thursday afternoon the renewal of César Azpilicueta for two more seasons. The defender had agreed to a move to the Camp Nou, but could not wait any longer to resolve his future. His very high price tag given that he was entering his final year of the contract seems to be the trigger.
This has now opened a debate in the sporting direction on available replacements to fill in at the right back. Thomas Meunier, from Borussia Dortmund, is one of the most convincing alternatives. However, several options within the current squad could also play on the right wing.
The most obvious of all is Sergiño Dest. The American faces his third season with much to prove, but as the only natural right-back in the squad. His future, despite Azpilicueta's refusal to wear Blaugrana, is still up in the air and a departure is not ruled out if a good offer arrives for him.
Ronald Araujo could also play on the right side of the team. Last season he performed very well in this position, highlighting his performance in the classic against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. In the Uruguayan national team, he seems to have taken over the right wing, leaving the centre of the defence to Godín and Giménez.
There is also the option of Sergi Roberto, to whom Azpilicueta's 'no' opens the way to have more game time. Xavi has requested the club to green-light his renewal. He faces fierce competition to play in the midfield, however, he could have more minutes as a full-back given the lack of players. Injuries and his performance will dictate his role this season.
Finally, there is also the wild card of Jules Kounde. The Frenchman arrived in the Catalan capital a few days ago from Sevilla. His natural position is that of central defender, being one of the best in his position. However, last season he played on the right-wing with the Seville club. Both in La Liga, and in the Champions League and Europa League. Also with the French national team at the European Championship and in the qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar 2022. However, as with Araujo, Xavi prefers that both occupy the central position.