Chelsea star set to leave the club after nine years to join Barcelona

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: Andreas Christensen of Chelsea claps the fans following the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on September 25, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: Andreas Christensen of Chelsea claps the fans following the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on September 25, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

Sometimes life has a weird way of coming full circle. Chelsea fans are no strangers to this idea, especially after Sunday’s Carabao Cup final. Kepa Arrizabalaga came on in the 118′, right before the penalty shootout, and he was tasked with guiding the Blues to a victory. It would’ve been a heroic cycle for the Spaniard who, three years ago, refused to come off the pitch in the same game against Manchester City. The Citizens went on to win the game and Arrizabalaga’s downfall began. Unfortunately, the shot-stopper was unable to win another trophy for his side on Sunday.

Another example of this reoccurring theme is Andreas Christensen. During the Dane’s breakthrough season in the Chelsea first team under manager Antonio Conte, it was his mistake versus Barcelona in the Champions League that saw his form take a turn for the worst. He was nearly sold on numerous occasions as his career in west London looked damaged beyond repair. Christensen didn’t fully find his footing again at Stamford Bridge until last season when he helped guide the Blues to Champions League glory, coming on to see out the final for an injured Thiago Silva. Now, the Blaugrana are set to bring things back full circle and potentially end the defender’s Chelsea career for real this time. Christensen is close to joining Barcelona, according to rumors.

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Chelsea centerback Andreas Christensen is set to join Barcelona in the summer

The centerback’s move to the Nou Camp would be completed in the summer after the opening of the transfer window on July 1. Christensen’s contract with the Blues expires at the end of the current campaign, when he will become a free agent. The 25-year-old and Chelsea were engaged in extension talks for months following the Champions League triumph, but discussions broke down when Christensen’s camp balked on numerous verbal agreements. The Blues have been unwilling to negotiate further following the latest denial, they were adamant that their latest offer was the final one. Recent reports suggest it was not enough to convince the Dane to stay in SW6.

Barcelona has seemingly met the centerhalf’s demands with a proposed a deal and serious talks are rapidly progressing. Christensen’s representatives have been in constant contact with the Spanish giants since January, when soon-to-be free agents were allowed to begin talking to potential non-domestic suitors. Bayern Munich is also interested in bringing in the experienced central defender, but it seems as if he’s settled on Xavi’s club as his next destination.

Christensen’s departure means a few different things going forward for Chelsea. First and foremost, it allows the Blues to ramp up talks with its two other out-of-contract centerbacks, Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger, as they now have less on their plate. Azpilicueta has a contract offer on the table from Barcelona, as well. Meanwhile, Rudiger has been approached by a number of European giants, such as Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid. Tuchel has expressed his desire to retain both beyond this season as they are key to his side’s success.

Second, Christensen’s departure all but confirms Jules Kounde to Chelsea. The Frenchman has been courted by the Blues for the better part of the last year following his failed deadline day switch to west London from Sevilla. Marina Granovskaia and Co. have remained interested and it’s been said by Matt Law of The Daily Telegraph on the London Is Blue Podcast that Chelsea will take a one-in, one-out approach to the defense in the window. Christensen is the first name to presumably depart and it’s likely he is replaced by the 23-year-old at some point this summer.

Lastly, there is the reality that Christensen will remain in the squad until the end of the year. It’s been quite awhile since the Blues have had to deal with a scenario like this before. In all likelihood, Christensen will feature less than in previous months in the starting XI. Instead, Tuchel could turn to now-healthy Trevoh Chalobah, who has been exceptional since breaking into the first team earlier in the campaign. If the reports of Christensen’s departure are to be believed, it does present Chelsea fans with a unique opportunity. Tuchel could elect to give the defender the sendoff he deserves for his nine years with the Blues. The manager could potentially start him on May 22 when Watford comes to Stamford Bridge to cap off the 2021/22 Premier League season.

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What was your favorite Christensen memory at Stamford Bridge? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!