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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Chelsea have signed ‘the new Cesar Azpilicueta’ in Marc Cucurella, says Thomas Tuchel: ‘I’m very excited’

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Spanish defender Cucurella became the club’s fifth signing of a busy and often chaotic summer transfer window on Friday, penning a six-year contract after joining from Brighton for a sizeable fee that could rise as high as £62.5million.

Cucurella’s arrival has coincided with a new contract for compatriot Cesar Azpilicueta, with Chelsea’s long-serving club captain signing an improved two-year deal until 2024 on Thursday, ending Barcelona’s long-running pursuit of his signature in the process.

There are many parallels between the two players other than simply their nationality, primarily the versatility and ability to operate in multiple defensive positions that makes them such valuable options for Tuchel, who lost the services of both Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger on free transfers earlier this summer and then signed Kalidou Koulibaly, with another centre-back on the agenda amid talks over Leicester’s Wesley Fofana.

“I’m very excited about what he can bring,” the manager said of the arrival of Cucurella, who could make a swift debut for Chelsea in their Premier League opener against Frank Lampard’s Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday evening. “He’s a fantastic player, a fantastic guy.

“I don’t want to get too excited, but I have the feeling we signed the new Azpilicueta, in terms of his mentality, attitude, even in terms of his position, just with a left foot. He can play in the back three, he can play wing-back and he is a very nice, very humble guy with his personality.

“He is a fantastic player, a very intelligent player, who is very strong on the ball, aggressive off the ball, mobile, hungry, with a good attitude. So I’m very, very happy that he joins us.”


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