Kepa Arrizabalaga speaks up on his Chelsea role as backup goalkeeper after failing to nail down a starting role in the side.
Once prominently linked with Real Madrid as the Spanish giants kept failing in their attempts to sign Manchester United’s David de Gea, the Chelsea goalkeeper has found life difficult in London. Kepa Arrizabalaga arrived at Chelsea as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper after Thibaut Courtois left the club.
While he remains the costliest goalkeeper ever, Kepa is no longer his club’s first-choice stopper. Life at Chelsea began with a bang, as the Basque stopper was an automatic choice to start games. A season-ending substitution fracas with then-manager Maurizio Sarri proved to be the start his downfall at the club.
That moment, coupled with error-ridden performances, ensured he started more games on the bench than on the pitch. At one point, he was dropped by former manager Frank Lampard to be replaced by veteran Willy Caballero, and since the arrival of Edouard Mendy last year, chances have been far and few in the main lineup.
Kepa has now been restricted to cup games appearances and an odd Premier League start, as it may seem his days as the first-choice stopper at Chelsea are truly over. There were a few links over a move away this summer, but nothing came to fruition. Kepa will now have to put his head down and work hard to help the club in whichever way possible.
The keeper supports that view as he speaks out on his situation to Radio Marca. Sport Witness posted quotes from that talk on their website, as the keeper elaborated on his position at Stamford Bridge.
Kepa said, “Everyone wants to play. Everyone wants to be in the starting lineup on Saturday and Sunday. For outfield players, there’s a chance of coming on, but the goalkeeper surely isn’t going to play. It’s not easy. The game days when you don’t play aren’t easy.
“You need to assume your role at that point. Help as best you can. During the week, on a daily basis, push to the maximum. Doing it for you, not for anyone else, just to be prepared. To keep improving and to be ready when given the opportunity or for any circumstance”.
Thomas Tuchel might be delighted to have two quality keepers to call upon with the Spaniard in the side. However, if his situation remains the same at the end of the season, Kepa might have to consider a move elsewhere to resurrect his playing career.