Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Does Kepa have a future at Chelsea?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 5 Feb 2020

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When Chelsea paid Athletic Club a whopping £72million to sign Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in 2018, the deal raised many eyebrows. The deal was a world-record fee for a goalkeeper eclipsing the fee of around £67million that Liverpool paid Roma to bring in Alisson Becker in the same summer.

In truth, one has excelled and become a pivotal player in a top team, the other has struggled to convince. Some will say the comparison is unfair, due to Alisson playing in a better team. However, comparisons were inevitable because of the relative similar fees for the pair.

Kepa has struggled to convince

The 25-year-old Spaniard obviously had promise playing for Athletic. It seems highly doubtful that he was worth the massive fee paid for his service though. The Blues seemed desperate to sign a replacement for Thibaut Courtois, who moved to Real Madrid, so maybe rushed into the signing of Kepa.

Unfortunately, he has struggled to convince as the Blues first-choice number one. He has produced a number of questionable displays of late. His form has been that poor that Chelsea boss Frank Lampard dropped him for a 2-2 draw at Leicester last time out. Veteran Argentinian goalkeeper Willy Caballero came in as a replacement for the Spaniard.

The theory over the head coach Frank Lampard dropping the Spaniard was it was a message to Kepa that he needs to improve upon on his performances to stay first choice at Stamford Bridge.

Not only is Kepa compared to Alisson. However, he has also been likened to Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea in his early years at Old Trafford. Whether Kepa can reach the same level as his compatriot in the future is unclear.

Chelsea unlikely to be able to sell Kepa

Media reports suggest that the Blues are on the lookout for a new goalkeeper in the summer. However, head coach Lampard could face a battle to sell Kepa this summer, as the clubs hierarchy will be unwilling to make a big loss on the 25-year-old.

It seems unlikely that any team will come in with a bid anywhere near the fee that the Blues paid or the Spaniard. Any club with the financial resources to afford to sign Kepa are unlikely to want him, as they will not be able to overlook his underwhelming performances for Chelsea. On current form, he would not be good enough to get in any other top team in European football.

Chelsea holding on to Champions League spot

Despite Kepa’s unconvincing performances for Chelsea, the Blues are still in the top-four in the Premier League. Lampard’s team are currently odds of 4/7 to secure a Champions League spot this season in the top-flight.

The Blues are currently fourth place in the table and four points clear of fifth-place Tottenham. The team from south west London’s main aim this season is of course to finish in the top-four against the odds due to a lack of new additions in the last few transfer windows.

It will be interesting to see if Kepa will return to the Chelsea starting line-up in the near future. If he does get back in the Blues first team in the near future then his performances will need to improve or he could soon become a very expensive benchwarmer.

Does Kepa Arrizabalaga have a future at Chelsea?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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