Chelsea have reportedly agreed to sign Athletic Bilbao stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga in a deal worth £71.6 million – a world record fee for a goalkeeper.
According to Telegraph, Chelsea are set to complete a transfer to bring in Kepa Arrizabalaga to replace Thibaut Courtois. The Blues have agreed a deal with Athletic Bilbao to sign the Spaniard. The deal is reportedly worth £71.6 million, which is a new world record for fee involved in the transfer of a goalkeeper.
Chelsea were looking to retain Thibaut Courtois. But, according to recent reports, the Belgian is intent on joining Real Madrid and has even gone ‘AWOL’ in a bid to push through his move to the European champions. This has seen Chelsea be frenzied to land a replacement, with only a couple of days left in the English transfer window.
Jack Butland seemed to be the priority target for Chelsea. But, according to recent reports, the Blues have not only shifted their focus to Kepa Arrizabalaga but have also agreed a world record fee to sign the Athletic Bilbao stopper.
64 – Kepa Arrizabalaga was the goalkeeper with the third most saves from shots inside the box in La Liga last season (99 in total). Agility. pic.twitter.com/p0iWGEldJt
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 7, 2018
Kepa is a name that has been doing the rounds for a while. The Spaniard was touted to be one of the prospects Real Madrid were looking into when deciding the profiles to target for the goalkeeping spot.
The 23-year-old has established himself as one of the best stoppers in La Liga and is expected to be second in the pecking order for the Spanish National Team.
The fee is down to the notoriety of Athletic Bilbao as far as negotiations are concerned. The Basque club have always maintained a tough stance on transfers of their players and have maintained the policy that if a club is interested in a player from the Basque region, they will have to shell out the entirety of the release clause to land him.
Kepa definitely has some big shoes to fill, with Thibaut Courtois being a dominant presence between the posts for Chelsea for a long time. As far as the Belgian is concerned, the player is likely to join Real Madrid, with Chelsea receiving £35 million and Mateo Kovacic on loan.
Chelsea’s hands may have been forced by Thibaut Courtois. But, their willingness to shatter the world record fee, which is currently held by Liverpool’s purchase of Alisson, shows that the board are prepared to back the new manager in the market.
Kepa is reportedly on his way to complete his move to Chelsea. A signing that the Blues fans should be excited about, at least as far as the profile and potential of the 23-year-old is concerned.