Chelsea have triggered the €71.6m release clause of Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and could complete his signing within 24 hours
According to Marca, Chelsea intend to announce their new signing on Thursday after Kepa decided the “approach was just too good to turn down.”
Sport Witness added the Blues also moved for Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak but he turned them down, while they had to meet Kepa’s release clause as Athletic refused to negotiate.
The deal, if it goes through, will see Kepa become the most expensive goalkeeper, surpassing the £66.8 million Liverpoolpaid to sign Alisson from Roma just last month.
The 23-year-old’s arrival at Stamford Bridge will surely signal the departure of Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgian shot stopper has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid and reportedly refused to return to training in an attempt to force a move to the Spanish giants.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri refused to comment on Courtois’ future after Tuesday’s pre-season victory over Lyon, but he was complimentary about Kepa, “If I don’t know anything about Courtois, I don’t know anything about Kepa, of course. I saw [Kepa] one year ago. My first impression was that he is a very good goalkeeper, very young, but very, very good.”
Kepa will have big boots to fill if he moves to Stamford Bridge to replace Courtois, and Chelsea arguably made a mistake by not bidding for Alisson when they had the chance.
However, he is a hugely talented goalkeeper and has been No. 1 at the San Mames Stadium for the last two seasons:
Should he live up to his potential, he could be Chelsea’s No. 1 for a decade or more, which would make the proposed £71.6 million transfer fee a fine investment.