Speculation is rife over the future of Chelsea’s captaincy amid reports that current skipper Cesar Azpilicueta is desperate to up sticks to La Liga titans Barcelona
While Thomas Tuchel is desperate to block Cesar Azpilicueta’s switch to Barcelona, the Chelsea boss can be safe in the knowledge he has someone willing to inherit the armband should the Spaniard eventually depart.
Blues academy graduate Mason Mount has insisted that he is ready to take on the responsibility that comes with being the skipper of Chelsea from next season onwards. Azpilicueta has been at Stamford Bridge for just under a decade but now harbours desires of a new challenge at the Camp Nou.
Both of the aforementioned players are currently away on Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the United States, though Azpilicueta missed the most recent outing – a penalty shootout defeat by Charlotte after sustaining a hamstring strain.
In his absence, it was Mount who wore the armband – something he reflected on to reporters immediately after the game. “Yes, I am still young and I am still learning but whenever the opportunity comes to step up I want to take it,” the England international explained.
“Obviously, the gaffer trusted me with captaining the side in the second half and I take that responsibility. Whether we win, whether we lose I always want to be the won to be able to take it. To take it on the chin if we win and obviously if we lose as well.”
Mount went on to admit that while his style of leadership differs from his past Chelsea skippers, he has absorbed knowledge from the leaders around him and is ready to make the next step.
“I’m naturally not the most vocal,” he added. “I’ve never really been that. When I was captain of the Under-18 FA Youth Cup side I was always someone who tried to lead by example on the pitch.
“But you have to bring that as well and that’s something I am constantly trying to learn from the likes of Azpi [Azpilicueta] and Jorgi [Jorginho] who have been captains of this club. Just trying to learn from them and trying to add that to my game.”
Whether Azpilicueta actually will leave remains to be seen, as boss Tuchel showed the first signs of some annoyance over Barcelona’s relentless attempts to pry him away from Stamford Bridge.
Asked whether he is frustrated by the Catalan outfit, Tuchel responded: “A little bit, maybe.” He elaborated further by adding: “It’s a tough question because I’m not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants.
“I said to him many times that I can understand him on a personal level and a career level. I can understand his post of view. But I am not only in my role to give him what he wants and what makes sense for him. I am also manager of Chelsea and I have to do what is best for Chelsea.”
Tuchel openly admitted his defender’s head may have been turned by the constant attention from Barcelona: “It is maybe now a bit tough because the other club is on him. Permanently on him so it causes distraction.”