Official: Chelsea sign Kepa for world-record fee of £71.6m

Joe Williams

Kepa Arrizabalaga has joined Chelsea for a reported £71.6million from Athletic Bilbao in a world-record deal for a goalkeeper.

Maurizio Sarri swiftly replaced Real Madrid-bound Thibaut Courtois as Kepa has signed a seven-year deal at Stamford Bridge after moving from Athletic.

The transfer announced at 10.02pm on Wednesday represents a world record for a keeper, surpassing the £65m paid by Liverpool to Roma for Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker last month.

“It’s a very important decision for me, for my career, and also for my personal life,” he told the club’s official website.

“So many things attracted me to the club, all the titles the club has won, the other players, the city, the English Premier League.

“It’s an accumulation of things, and I am very glad Chelsea has decided to trust me and to take me in as well.”

Courtois is to join Real Madrid in a deal that will see Mateo Kovacic move to Chelsea on a season-long loan.

After months of speculation surrounding the Belgium goalkeeper, the 26-year-old has got his wish to swap Stamford Bridge for the Bernabeu.

Courtois is moving for a reported £35million and Croatia midfielder Kovacic will be coming the other way on loan.

A statement from Chelsea read: “Chelsea and Real Madrid have tonight agreed terms for the permanent transfer of Thibaut Courtois subject to the agreement of personal terms and passing a medical.

“Subject to the completion of the deal Mateo Kovacic will join the Blues on a season-long loan.”

Real Madrid confirmed Courtois will undergo a medical on Thursday morning before signing a six-year deal.

The Belgium goalkeeper will be presented at 1pm local time before attending a press conference.