Let me go... Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta wants to leave the club to join Barcelona. Image Credit: Reuters

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he understands defender Cesar Azpilicueta’s desire to join Barcelona, but added that the Premier League club will not allow him to leave for a cut-price fee.

Azpilicueta, whose contract expires in June 2023, has been linked with a move to Barcelona for several months, but Tuchel said the LaLiga club’s valuation of the Spain international did not match Chelsea’s.

Same level

“It’s a tough question because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants,” Tuchel said. “At some point it is about what we want. I made the comparison about how much we fought for Kalidou Koulibaly, who is a national team player and roughly the same age. I see (Azpilicueta) maybe at the same level but Barcelona don’t see him on that level.

“I said that to him ... that I understand on a personal and a career level. But I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what’s best for Chelsea. He doesn’t like it but he understands.”

Chelsea, who finished third last season, kick off the new campaign with a trip to Everton on Aug. 6.