Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly ready to cash in on Kepa Arrizabalaga less than one season after making him the most expensive keeper.
Spanish publication El Confidencial are speculating that Chelsea are ready to call time on their association with Kepa Arrizabalaga in the summer of 2019, just one season after signing the keeper from Athletic Bilbao in a deal that made him the most expensive keeper in the history of football.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was brought in by Chelsea as a replacement for Real Madrid bound Thibaut Courtois. But, not many had envisaged the Blues spending a world record money for a keeper in order to sign the Spaniard from Athletic Bilbao, who are known to be tough negotiators when it comes to selling their academy stars.
The pressure was already high on Kepa to perform, given the humongous price tag. And while the Spaniard has kept a total of 17 shutouts in 38 appearances so far this season, conceding just 36 goals, there have been times he has struggled to live up to the billing.
The boiling point for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, according to the report, was Kepa’s disregard for manager Maurizio Sarri’s orders during the EFL Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester City. The manager wanted to get the Spaniard to come off to be replaced by Willy Caballero before the start of the spot kicks.
The Spaniard refused to come off and the player’s decision ultimately cost Chelsea the EFL Cup, with Kepa letting in a very soft penalty kick from Sergio Aguero. Kepa did apologise in the aftermath. But, it has not done much to impress club owner Roman Abramovich.
The report states that Roman Abramovich is fuming at Kepa’s behaviour and is ready to show the Spaniard the door, regardless of whether Maurizio Sarri remains as the Chelsea manager. While Chelsea are aware they will have trouble in recouping the entirety of the world record fee paid to bring Kepa in, the club’s owner wants to remove such personalities from the dressing room going forward.
According to the report, Chelsea have already started scouring the market for an able replacement and are likely to start courting offers for Kepa once they are able to lock in on one. Looks like Chelsea will have a new ‘Kepa’ for the 2019-20 campaign.