A lot of the talk this season has been about Chelsea renewing Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard’s contract so that they can try to keep them out of the clutches of Real Madrid this summer.
Their current deals run out in 2019 and 2020 respectively, but there is another Blues player that seems to have been forgotten in all this and one who could be considered as important as any.
Cesar Azpilicueta has to go down as one of the steals of Chelsea’s recent history as they snapped him up in 2012 for a measly price of around £7m from Marseille.
He instantly showed his versatility to the Blues, playing at right-back, left-back, centre-back and more recently in both the left and right wing-back positions.
Under Antonio Conte, the Spain international has been a constant in the right of the three at the back, and it just goes to show how important he is to the team that he is barely moved.
While Antonio Rudiger, Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen and David Luiz are chopped and changed to find the right combination, Azpilicueta continues on his merry way and putting in consistent performances with a passion and aplomb that makes him loved by the Chelsea supporters.
He is not one of the flashiest players in the world, in fact he so often gets overlooked he has so often been wrongly overlooked for the PFA Team of the Year when he has had an outstanding season, such as last year.
Cesar Azpilicueta has played 9,681 of Chelsea's last 9,990 Premier League minutes
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) April 23, 2018
The above start shows you just how crucial he is to Chelsea and just how he is thought of by the current manager and his team-mates, who speak so highly of him.
But now becomes an important time in his career. Azpilicueta turns 29 in August and his current contract with Chelsea runs out in 2020. While talk around Hazard and Courtois continues to rumble on, what about extending Azpilicueta?
Everyone knows about Chelsea’s over-30 policy, where the Blues are unwilling to offer more than just a one-year deal to those that have hit that magic 30 age, so if Azpilicueta does stay at the Blues then you have to feel now is his last chance to get one more big deal under his belt.
Now is the time to be giving it to him, to secure his future as even when he gets into his 30s and beyond, there is no doubt any manager that succeeds Conte will use him as much as possible.