According to Sky Sports, Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for a fee reported to be in the region of £71.6m. The mooted fee would make the Spanish international the most expensive goalkeeper ever.
Some reports from Spain claim that the 23-year-old will fly to London on Wednesday so that he would have a chance of making his debut for the Blues against Huddersfield on Saturday.
Kepa, as he commonly known, is one of the most highly-rated goalkeepers in world football, and Athletic Bilbao have already reportedly rejected previous big-money offers from Spanish giants Real Madrid for their prize asset.
Chelsea also have alternative keeping options in Stoke City’s Jack Butland and Sergio Rico, who would both cost smaller fees than Kepa.
However, the youngster has emerged as the first choice to replace wantaway Belgium international Thibaut Courtois, who looks set to finally complete a move to Real Madrid after months of speculation over the goalkeepers future.
Unfortunately for the Blues, because Courtois is in the last year of his contract the fee is likely to be half of what the Blues are paying for his replacement. In other circumstances, Courtois would bring in a far bigger fee.
According to the Sky report, Chelsea could sign Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic on a season-long loan deal. The midfielder is keen to move on this summer in search of first-team football, although Los Blancos want to keep 24-year-old as backup for the new season.
Kovacic would likely be a replacement for Chelsea central midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is reportedly a loan target for AC Milan. It seems it could be a frantic day and a half at Stamford Bridge with the transfer window closing on Thursday at 5 PM. There could be plenty activity as new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri attempts to shape his squad.
Would Kepa Arrizabalaga be a good replacement for Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea?