Blues close in on £7m move for Azpilicueta

SPANISH defender Cesar Azpilicueta is expected to complete a £7m move from Marseille to Chelsea before the weekend after he was left out of the French side’s squad for tonight’s Europa League match against Sheriff Tiraspol.

Azpilicueta is a long-standing Blues target and would provide competition at right-back for Branislav Ivanovic and Paulo Ferreira, following the departure of Jose Bosingwa on a free transfer this summer.

“If my departure can help Marseille’s finances, then it is a good deal for everyone concerned,” he said on Tuesday. “I thank the club’s fans for their standing ovation. They have always been good to me, even when things haven’t gone well.”

The 22-year-old has been trailed by Chelsea since before he departed Osasuna, in his native Pamplona, two years ago, and his arrival would take Chelsea’s summer spending past £70m.

His time in Ligue 1 was initially disrupted by a serious knee injury, which kept him out for six months, but he recovered to help Marseille win the French League Cup two seasons in succession.

Azpilicueta has been capped by Spain at every age level from Under-16 to Under-23, and featured in their ill-fated London 2012 Olympics campaign, which ended at the first hurdle. He is yet to win a cap for the all-conquering senior side.