Chelsea ‘have not triggered’ the clause in Cesar Azpilicueta’s contract to keep him at the club beyond the end of this season.

That’s according to Sport, who say the current restrictions on the Blues mean they have been unable to extend their captain’s contract as yet.

Azpilicueta is out of contract at Stamford Bridge in the summer, but Chelsea have an option to extend it by a year if he plays 30 games this season.

That has already happened, but the restrictions on the club mean there has been uncertainty over whether they have actually activated it.

Sport now insist they haven’t, explaining that the restrictions imposed by the UK government prevents Chelsea from signing new contracts or renewals.

It also means they cannot sit down to negotiate deals either. Thus the clause for Azpilicueta has not been activated as it falls within these parameters.

The clause in his contract says Chelsea can renew automatically after 30 games, and he’s played 35 this season, but not all competitions are included, and there is also a requirement that he plays a minimum number of minutes for matches to be included.

Thus, there is a belief he still may not have reached the requirement, despite being five games over the 30 games required.

Either way, Chelsea cannot activate the clause until Roman Abramovich has been replaced as owner and the sanctions lifted.

Barcelona are following the situation ‘very closely’ and are still interested in signing Azpilicueta, but the player cannot agree on anything formally as he doesn’t know what his situation is exactly.

He had already ‘reached an agreement’ with Marina Granovskaia that he could leave the club at the end of the season if he saw fit, but that may not be an agreement the new owners are willing to honour.

Barcelona, then, may be forced to pay a fee to release him from his contract, something they are willing to do anyway, as Xavi wants the player in his squad next season.