Chelsea close in on deal for Marseille's César Azpilicueta

LONDON. August 11. KAZINFORM Chelsea and Marseille are in advanced negotiations over the transfer of the French club's Spanish right-back César Azpilicueta.

A fee has yet to be agreed but both sides are keen to conclude a deal as the new season edges ever closer.

Azpilicueta, who was signed from Osasuna two years ago for about £5.8m and was a member of Spain's squad at the Olympic Games, has been earmarked to replace José Bosingwa at Stamford Bridge after the Portuguese was released last month. The Marseille president, Vincent Labrune, confirmed earlier this week that a "very serious" offer had been submitted by the European champions for the 22-year-old, who is contracted until 2014, though that opening bid was deemed unsatisfactory.

However, dialogue is ongoing between the clubs with a view to striking a compromise after Azpilicueta made it clear his preference was to move to the Premier League.

The French club are interested in signing Gaël Kakuta from Chelsea and the 21-year-old could yet be used as a makeweight in any deal. The forward, who has spent time on loan at Fulham, Bolton Wanderers and Dijon, is on the fringes at Stamford Bridge and is expected to leave in search of first-team football before the start of the new season. Lyon are also interested in securing his services.

Marseille's Cameroon international midfielder Stéphane Mbia is being courted by Queens Park Rangers and could join the exodus from the Stade Vélodrome this summer, Kazinform has learnt from the Guardian.

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