Julen Lopetegui’s Real Madrid Appointment Could Spell Trouble For Kepa Arrizabalaga’s Future At Athletic Club
Last year Kepa Arrizabalaga flirted with the idea of leaving Athletic Club to join Real Madrid, but ultimately decided to renew his contract with the Basques in January. He penned a new deal through 2025 that also contained an €80 million release clause. Then-manager Zinedine Zidane had a lot to do with Kepa’s decision as the Real Madrid coach continued to tell the media that he had no need for a new goalkeeper. Now that Zidane has left the club, Kepa’s future could be in question once again.
On Tuesday Real Madrid officially announced that Spain coach Julen Lopetegui will take over as their new manager when the World Cup ends. Lopetegui has done an amazing job with the National Team and seems to be an exciting hire, but you can’t ignore his connection to Kepa. He coached the Athletic keeper at Spain’s U21 level before taking over the main team and has played a big role in Kepa being called up for this summer’s World Cup.
It is no secret that Loptegui really likes Kepa and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he is once again linked with a move to the Capital. The new Real Madrid manager will have to decide if he is happy with Keylor Navas or if he wants to pursue Kepa, whose €80 million release clause wouldn’t pose that much of a problem if the keeper wanted to make the move. At the end of the day the decision will always be up to Kepa and Athletic fans are hoping that his recent renewal was a sign that he has no plans to leave the San Mamés anytime soon.
In a recent interview Kepa made it clear that he has no regrets over rejecting Real Madrid. He says that he is happy at Athletic Club and that is why he signed such a long-term contract. That being said, Real Madrid can be a very attractive destination and if Julen Lopetegui wants to sign the 23-year-old he already has an established relationship. If Kepa’s statements are true he won’t be leaving Athletic, but if he does the club will give Alex Remiro and Iago Herrerín the chance to battle for the starting role.