Chelsea Reportedly Targeting Kepa Arrizabalaga As A Possible Replacement For Thibaut Courtois
Kepa Arrizabalaga is quickly becoming one of the best goalkeepers in world football. The 23-year-old is already living up to expectations placed on him as a young boy at Lezama and has played at such a high level that he was named to Spain’s World Cup roster earlier this summer. Last year he was aggressively pursued by Real Madrid but eventually decided to renew his contract with Athletic. Now he may have another difficult decision to make.
According to a report from Sergio Santos of AS, Chelsea have identified Kepa as one of their top transfer targets if Thibaut Courtois leaves for Real Madrid. The report goes on to say that the English club is willing to meet the goalkeeper’s €80 million release clause, which would be necessary as Athletic has no plans to negotiate.
The first thing to note is that Sergio Santos is not a journalist who regularly covers Athletic news. In fact, at this point there are no major sources close to the club who have confirmed the story. At the same time, reports in England claim that Chelsea are pursuing Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, and Jan Oblak. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Kepa report is false, just that it is important to identify the source of news.
If Chelsea truly are willing to meet the release clause, the decision will be up to Kepa. When he signed his new contract back in January he seemed to make a statement about his future by extending his deal through 2025. He may now be looking at another difficult career decision. In the meantime, Athletic are hopeful that the star goalkeeper stays at the San Mamés, but others such as Iago Herrerín and Alex Remiro are ready for their chance if Kepa does make an exit.