Tuchel hails Azpilicueta as Atletico are linked

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone reportedly wants to sign Cesar Azpilicueta – but comments by Thomas Tuchel suggests he has no intention of letting the Chelsea captain leave. 

El Gol Digital claim Simeone would like to take Azpilicueta back to his native Spain this summer.

The 31-year-old Blues stalwart has faced competition for a place from Reece James this season and could face an even tougher battle next term.

But he is still regarded by boss Tuchel as an important player – both on an off the pitch – and there appears to be little prospect of him leaving.

“He’s fantastic and I want him to be on the pitch,” said Tuchel, as reported by West London Sport. 

“He’s a fantastic captain and a fantastic sports guy – everything Chelsea means.

“He’s humble, he’s a fighter and he does everything to win.

“He’s a true, true professional with the mentality of a water carrier. He helps everybody on and off the pitch.”

Azpilicueta also offers versatility – having been deployed as a right-sided central defender recently, he played as a wing-back in Saturday’s vital win at London rivals West Ham.

“Azpi is open to anything once he sees we have a reason to do it,” Tuchel added.

“He’s very excited to be involved a bit more offensively and he’s very reliable.”