Pochettino ‘personally calls’ out-of-contract Real Madrid star to replace Chelsea club legend

Pochettino ‘personally calls’ out-of-contract Real Madrid star to replace Chelsea club legend

Chelsea could replace one versatile defender with another, as a report claims Mauricio Pochettino has ‘personally called’ Real Madrid star Nacho Fernandez over a move to Stamford Bridge.

Pochettino has reportedly already begun the process of trimming the Chelsea squad, with as many as 15 players potentially on the way out of the club this summer.

But the sales could leave Chelsea with a dearth of experience, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech among those set to leave, while club captain Cesar Azpilicueta has also been linked with the exit.

And according to Spanish outlet OK Diario, Pochettino wants to sign a direct replacement for Azpilicueta, with Nacho, like the Blues legend, comfortable operating in any role across the back line.

It may make more sense to keep Azpilicueta rather than signing a new Azpilicueta, seeing as the actual Azpilicueta knows the club inside out having won everything possible in his decade-long stint, but anyway…

The report claims Pochettino ‘would like to start his adventure in England with the signing of Nacho’ whose contract is up in June and is ‘closer to leaving the Bernabeu than renewing his relationship with Florentino Perez’.

The report adds: ‘Carlo Ancelotti pleads for his continuity, but after a lifetime in the shadow of the Raphael Varane-Sergio Ramos couple and now in the shadow of the one made up of Alaba-Militao, he would have already decided to try new challenges.’

After a new banner was unveiled at Stamford Bridge on the last day of the season featuring a picture of Azpilicueta and the message ‘We’ll just call you legend’, the Chelsea skipper reflected on a tough season and an ’emotional day’ on social media.

He wrote: ‘It has been a really tough one, where we have not delivered the performances and results required for the standards of this football club.

‘Although it would be easier to blame someone else, it is time to look at ourselves and be self-critical. It is the only way of moving forward, and this club must be where you, the fans, deserve: at the top fighting for trophies.

‘It has been a very emotional day, and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Stamford Bridge for showing me your unconditional support and love, the one I have always felt.

‘Now it is time to recharge the batteries and work towards the future, a future I am certain will be bright once again.

‘Lots of love, Azpi’

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