Chelsea were reportedly interested in a move for Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak before the Atletico Madrid man rejected a move to stay with the Rojiblancos
Chelsea’s late hunt for a high profile goalkeeper took them to the doorsteps of many top clubs across Europe, but eventually signed Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for a world record £71 million on deadline day. The Times are now reporting that before bringing the Spaniard in, Chelsea tried to exploit an opportunity to bring Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak.
The report states that the Slovenian rejected a proposal from the Blues in favour of staying and continuing his career under Diego Simeone at the Madrid club. Chelsea had triggered a €100 million (£89 million) release clause that was in Oblak’s contract, but when things fell into the goalkeeper’s hand, he rejected the move.
If the signing had gone through, it would have been another world record transfer, but Chelsea nonetheless broke the record by signing Kepa instead. By the definition of a release clause, once triggered, gives the power to accept or reject in the hands of the player and Oblak did so.
This late move from Chelsea was to ensure they sign a quality replacement for the Thibaut Courtois who duly departed to join Real Madrid in a €35 million deal. His replacement, Kepa, too had a massive £71 million release clause, which Chelsea triggered to bring the Spaniard to Stamford Bridge.
Alternatively, Oblak’s rejection helped him land a new deal at Atletico, with the club offering him a massive pay rise as well as inserting a new trigger clause which is close to €250 million. Similarly, Atletico has been able to ward off interest from rival clubs on three of their most important players in Oblak, Godin and Griezmann during the same summer now.
This tells a different story of the Chelsea goalkeeper chase, as they seemingly preferred to sign the Slovenian first and only went for Kepa as a secondary option. Maurizio Sarri nonetheless will be happy to have the Spaniard instead of the Slovenian, as both these goalkeepers are highly rated.
A move for Oblak, however, would have landed Chelsea a seasoned keeper who has genuinely been making waves with his performances in the last few years. For instance, Oblak was named in the La Liga team of the season twice in the previous three seasons.
What we also understand is that Oblak might have rejected the idea of playing for Chelsea for the benefit of playing in the Champions League with Atletico, something the Blues cannot offer him this season. But, Diego Simeone and Atletico could count this transfer window as a great success, both regarding recruitment and retain their present stars for the next season.