Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao interested in signing Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta

Cesar Azpilicueta has endured a difficult start to the season (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has suitors in Spain with both Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao monitoring his future at Stamford Bridge, according to the Sun.

The 30-year-old has established himself as a key member of the Chelsea side since his move from Marseille in 2012, racking up 342 appearances for the club in all competitions.

Over the past few seasons, Azpilicueta has been a virtual ever-present in the Chelsea side, missing only two of the clubs last 156 Premier League games since the start of 2015-16.

Following a dip in form, though, Azpilicueta could soon find his first-team place under threat with highly-rated 19-year-old Reece James expected to challenge him once he has regained fitness.

Reece James on the ball during Chelsea's game against San Jose Earthquakes
Reece James has been tipped to replace Cesar Azpilicueta in Chelseas first-team (Picture: Getty)

James was in phenomenal form for Wigan Athletic during a loan spell last season and according to reports, Frank Lampard is looking to promote him in Azpilicuetas place after the international break.

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Should Azpilicueta slip down the pecking order at Chelsea, he could look to secure first-team football elsewhere and a return to his native Spain following almost a decade away might well appeal.

Athletic Bilbao are renowned for their policy of only selecting players native to the Basque country but they would be able to sign Azpilicueta as he was born in Pamplona, which is the second-largest city in the region.

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