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Chelsea hold a strong interest in RC Lens defender Jonathan Clauss, according to reports in France.
The 29-year-old has had a fine season in Ligue 1, named in the Team of the Season in France.
The right-back made 40 appearances in all competitions, registering 11 assists and scoring five goals before featuring for his national side, France, in the post-season friendlies.
Clauss’ current deal in France expires in 2023, with the Blues expected to make an offer for him this summer as they eye a potential replacement for Cesar Azpilicueta.
Barcelona are said to be hoping that Chelsea will offer Azpilicueta, alongside fellow wing-back Marcos Alonso, ‘the letter of freedom’ to depart Stamford Bridge.
When asked about Azpilicueta’s future at Stamford Bridge towards the end of the season, the German head coach praised his player.
Tuchel said: "He is everything Chelsea is about, and I am so, so happy he is the captain because he is humble, hard-working, a nice guy and a polite guy. I am happy that in football, it's possible a guy like this can win all the trophies.
"That sets the example. It sets the tone. It sets the atmosphere at a very high level."
The head coach continued to hint at a potential exit, if Azpilicueta wishes to depart in the summer.
"We (need to) find out if he can give everything that makes him special. I think, with all the respect, he can only be special if he is committed 100 percent and does not have another little voice in his head, not one concern in his head, that he should have done something differently," he continued.
"He is only the guy he is when he is fully committed. That is his foundation. So this is what we have to find out.
"That does not mean we find it out tomorrow or today, we still have time because we are also in the privileged position where we have a contract. We have to see."
Therefore, it looks increasingly likely that the Blues will enter the market for a replacement this summer, with Barcelona still exploring a deal for the Chelsea skipper.
French outlet Voix du Nord report that Clauss will not extend his contract at Lens.
The Ligue 1 club could look to sell him for as little as €10 million this summer, with Chelsea interested.
It is stated that Tuchel’s side hold ‘strong interest’ in Clauss, who could ‘take over’ from Azpilicueta in the summer.
The French international is seen as the perfect wing-back for Tuchel’s system, having played there for the majority of his career.
The 29-year-old could be a smart signing for Chelsea in the summer if they are to enter the market for the defender.
It remains to be seen as to whether the Blues will make a bid during the summer transfer window.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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