Last week, Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta spoke with The Telegraph about his changing role at the club and how he’s always pushing in training to earn more minutes on the field.
The Spaniard has been a superb servant to the Blues since he signed back in 2012 for £6.5 million, but of late the full-back has seen his game time diminish with the emergence of positional rival Reece James.
The 31-year-old star may have lost his regular right-back position to the English talent, but the skipper has not lost any of his professionalism, saying:
“You know, I push and I train hard to get as many minutes as possible when the manager needs me to be ready for him, but you know when I’m out I try to help from the stands.”
Cesar’s efforts in training have not gone without reward as manager Frank Lampard continues to utilise his experience.
He has appeared nine times this season for the Blues and started versus Rennes as Chelsea qualified for the last 16 in the UEFA Champions League.
Amassing 276 top-flight appearances as a Chelsea player is no mean feat and the all-around defender isn’t finished yet.
Capable of playing as a left-back, centrally or in his more natural right-back position, Cesar still has plenty to give as part of Frank’s squad, although his days as the undisputed first-choice full-back could be behind Cesar owing to the form of his younger counterpart.
For certain fixtures, the experience and nous of the player could be invaluable.
It’s unlikely that the Blues will dominate the ball in every match, and there will be days when his defensive insight could be more suitable to Lampard’s plans than Reece’s attacking prowess.
Chelsea are allegedly planning a transfer for Atletico Madrid defender Jose Maria Gimenez.
The west Londoners improved their options at centre-back during the summer market by signing Thiago Silva.
The 36-year-old star has been in good form recently, but the Blues still need to sign a younger successor.
Speaking on his Here We Go podcast, Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano believes Gimenez is the man club senior figures are looking at.
The Uruguay international is a solid centre-half who is an important part of Diego Simeone’s outfit in the Spanish capital.
At 25-years-old star, he could provide head coach Frank Lampard with a long term solution in the centre of defence.
It’s thought that Jose would form a great partnership with Thiago, replacing Frenchman Kurt Zouma.
Since signing for Atletico back in 2013, the player has proven himself to be one of the best defenders in the league.
He’s made almost 200 appearances for Los Rojiblancos and helped them to win the Europa League in the 2017/18 campaign.
His importance to Diego means he would not come cheap, however.
The club would have to fork out a big fee to prize the player away from Atletico Madrid.
Gimenez has been mentioned with a move to the PL in the past.
Both Manchester United and Manchester City have previously been touted with moves for him, although they eventually signed alternative players.
If Chelsea don’t sign Jose then Bayern Munich’s David Alaba could be a cheaper option.
The versatile player is out of contract next summer which means he can talk to interested sides in January.
According to recent reports, his entourage is currently trying to manoeuvre a transfer to Chelsea for the player.
A lack of playing time at Chelsea could see centre-back Fikayo Tomori seek a January loan move, with Newcastle United believed to be keen on his services.
The 22-year-old star began to establish himself in the Blues senior team in 2019-2020.
The Englishman made 15 starts at the heart of defence while netting his first goal in September last year.
However, the arrival of Thiago Silva has seen the talent slip down the Stamford Bridge pecking order.
Fikayo has featured in just one top-flight match while featuring twice in the EFL Cup this season.
With one full England cap to his name, the defender seems to have the world at his feet. But Tomori needs to be playing football and not sitting on the substitutes bench.
While Silva is Frank Lampard’s number one centre-half, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are also ahead of Fikayo.
It appears as though a loan stint during the second half of the season might suit all concerned.
Tomori needs regular senior team action and it may come at St James’ Park. The Northern Echo are claiming that Magpies chief Steve Bruce will pounce when the transfer market reopens.
Doubts over the club’s management mean permanent deals won’t happen on Tyneside, with loans much more likely.
Frank is unlikely to stand in the ace’s way as he almost left for West Ham United in the summer.
The last-minute nature of that proposed transfer caused the player to remain in west London but it appears as though he’ll look for a new temporary challenge early next year.
The Canadian-born player would face competition from Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez, Jamal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark in the north east.