Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has played down the impact of the club’s transfer ban on the team. In February, FIFA slapped the West London club with a two-window transfer ban after finding irregularities in their signing of young players. The ban will become effective from this summer and Azpilicueta conceded that the players are aware of it.

However, he also insisted that everyone at the club is focusing on their jobs for now and that they are aware that these kinds of issues are to be resolved by the club’s higher structures.

“We have to be aware of what is happening,” he said to reporters as quoted by The Express. 

“This is the reality. It’s true that everything is in the air. We may or may not have the transfer ban, but it is not in our (the players’) hands.

“Hopefully, it can be resolved as soon as possible.

“Even if the transfer ban wasn’t an issue, being without the Champions League for two years is something I cannot accept.

“Our first target has been to get back in it. It is the competition where we belong.

“Liverpool and City have been at another level this season. They are both raising the bar but we will do everything to bridge the gap.”

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The transfer ban could seriously impact the club’s chances of winning major silverware this season. The Blues are currently fighting to claim fourth place in the League and qualify for next seasons Champions League. If they win the Europa League, they can qualify for the Champions League even if they finish outside the top four. However, ensuring a top-four finish even if they win the Europa League will prove that Maurizio Sarri’s men are at least somewhat on par with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.

If the transfer ban stands, it will be very hard to see the Blues winning major silverware next season. They will then have to rely on recalling players from loan. There are many weak areas of the side which need strengthening this summer.