European giants ‘weigh up’ move for £72m Chelsea man as injury blow sees club ‘enter the market’

Jason Soutar
Kepa Arrizabalaga bumps fists with Karim Benzema.
Kepa Arrizabalaga bumps fists with Karim Benzema.

Real Madrid have identified Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga as a transfer target after Thibaut Courtois suffered a serious knee injury, according to reports.

Kepa is still the most expensive goalkeeper in world football having joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao for £72million in August 2018.

It is safe to say the 28-year-old has not lived up to that monstrous price tag and was actually replaced as the club’s No. 1 when Edouard Mendy joined for £56m less two years later.

Mendy’s recent decline gave Kepa an opportunity to regain his place in between the sticks and, in fairness, did pretty well when called upon by Graham Potter and Frank Lampard last term.

He did so well that new boss Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly willing to go into the new Premier League season with the ex-Bilbao man as his first-choice goalkeeper.

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Chelsea have bought Robert Sanchez from Brighton and Hove Albion to provide some competition for Kepa, which has actually cast doubt over his future at Stamford Bridge.

German champions Bayern Munich – who are still without the injured Manuel Neuer – are reportedly keen on signing Kepa after they sold Yann Sommer to Inter.

Kepa is a man in demand because European juggernauts Real Madrid are also interested, reports Standard Sport journalist Nizaar Kinsella.

Kinsella claimed on Thursday afternoon that Los Blancos are “weighing up a similar loan to buy approach as Bayern Munich” for the Spanish shot-stopper.

Madrid’s interest comes after No. 1 ‘keeper Courtois suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

A club statement read: ‘Following tests carried out on Thibaut Courtois, the player has been diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The player will undergo surgery in the coming days.’

Without mentioning a specific player who may come in, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano says Carlo Ancelotti’s side are now “prepared to enter the market for a new goalkeeper”.

Could David de Gea finally get his move to Real Madrid?

In a blow to Los Blancos (and a potential boost for De Gea), Sky Sports Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg says Bayern have now “submitted an official offer” to Chelsea for Kepa.

The offer on the table is a one-year loan with a buy option included, Plettenberg says.

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