Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admits he will hold honest talks over the future of Kepa Arrizabalaga this summer, having hinted for the first time that his exit could be on the cards.
The Spanish keeper became the world’s most expensive keeper in summer 2018 when the Blues met his £71.6m exit fee. Chelsea, having sold Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid, turned to the Athletic Bilbao stopper in the mammoth deal. Indeed, his signing shattered the previous top fees paid out by Liverpool and Manchester City for Alisson and Ederson, respectively.
However, Kepa’s time in south-west London has not gone as well as some predicted. He has rarely convinced as Chelsea No 1, and was in and out of the side under Frank Lampard’s management.
And to add salt into his wounds, he lost his place to veteran Argentine keeper Willy Caballero.
Ultimately, it was no surprise to see Chelsea ultimately splash out big money again on another keeper. However, it’s fair to say the £22m paid to Rennes for Edouard Mendy has proved a successful investment.
Now in his fourth season at Chelsea, Kepa has played an increasingly dwindling role at the club. In fact, he only featured 14 times in all competitions last season. And it’s been a similar story this, with just 15 games under his belt.
For an 11-times capped Spain international, who is still only 27, clearly that is not good enough.
As such, it’s little surprise to see Kepa being linked with a move away.
To that end, Arrizabalaga reportedly has a number of LaLiga suitors all keen to bring him back to Spain.
However, recently it is Newcastle United who are reportedly most likely to make their move.
Eddie Howe’s side, with the huge financial backing of their Saudi owners, are preparing for a massive summer.
They plan to strengthen all areas of their side, with a new goalkeeper very much in their thinking.
Tuchel gives Newcastle hope
Now Tuchel has given Newcastle hope that Kepa Arrizabalaga will be allowed to leave this summer.
“We need to ask him, and we need to be honest with him. And he needs to be honest with us, this is the most important,” Tuchel told Football.London
“He is still our player, and we don’t know about the situation with the ownership, what is possible and what is not. So first of all, he is our player, and he is a fantastic guy to deal with this kind of situation, which is not easy for him.
“I felt his disappointment around the Club World Cup where he played a brilliant semi-final, but we put in Edou in the final. I felt his disappointment, I could understand it even, and we had a talk about it.
“And I felt his disappointment also for the Carabao Cup final because he brought us there and had the feeling he deserved – and he was right – to play in the final. Still, we made the decision for Edou.
“It’s always a thin line in these decisions. There is never a 100% reason to go against Kepa because he deserves it, and we trust him. But this is such an obvious decision when you go for somebody [in goal] that you can’t play the other person because there is no other position than goalkeeper. I think it will influence, of course, his feeling about it and how he sees it.
“Edou is the number one and deserves to be the number one. I think it’s also important that a goalkeeper at this moment of the season feels this moment like it. I experienced different at other clubs, and it was never really good if you have these open situations – a mistake maybe then leads to a new open race. It’s too sensitive this position for it.”
Kepa Arrizabalaga to have talks on Chelsea future
Kepa is often considered Chelsea’s ‘cup goalkeeper’, often coming into the side in the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.
However, Tuchel was addressing his future after he decided to go against the grain and select Mendy in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace.
And hinting for the first time that a decision needs to be made, Tuchel added: “We need to be honest first of all [with Kepa], and he has to stay fully involved like he is. Yesterday in training, he was simply fantastic.
“Then he has to be open with us. For me, nothing needs to change as I like him a lot, and we need strong goalkeepers because it’s a crucial position. But we need to reflect on it in the summer.”
His contract at Stamford Bridge expires in 2025. As a result, Chelsea will likely demand big money if Kepa Arrizabalaga departs this summer.
To that end, reports recently claimed the Blues will be seeking a fee of around £50m. And at that sort of money, it’s a fee probably only Newcastle, of his suitors, would be willing to pay.
Despite his lack of action for Chelsea over the years, Kepa has a Champions League, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup winners medals to his name.
Meanwhile, a row is also brewing at Chelsea over Jorginho’s future, with Tuchel reportedly far from happy at developments.
Nathan Redmond’s Superb Curler Ends Liverpool’s Championship Chances
Liverpool fans have been lamenting the fact that their team has an almost impossible job on the final day of the season, hoping that Manchester City slip up against Aston Villa. Yet if they fail to do their homework against Southampton, it would all be futile anyway.
Should Liverpool pick up a point, it would be all but over too, as an eight goal swing to occur by virtue of a victory and a City defeat anyway. In reality, only a win will do for Jurgen Klopp.
What a goal from Nathan Redmond!
Southampton take a 1-0 lead over Liverpool. If this score holds, Manchester City will win the Premier League title. #SOULIV
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) May 17, 2022
The German manager has made nine changes to the side that beat Chelsea in the F.A Cup final and has gone for fresh legs to try and combat Southampton’s intense style.
If they are to get the win however, they will have to do it the hard way. After just 13 minutes, Nathan Redmond cut in on his right and let loose a curling effort into the top corner and beyond Alisson. Even if it did take a slight deflection off James Milner’s leg.
𝙍𝙀𝘿𝙈𝙊𝙉𝘿 𝙎𝙏𝙐𝙉𝙎 𝙇𝙄𝙑𝙀𝙍𝙋𝙊𝙊𝙇! 🤯🤯
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 17, 2022
Liverpool now have to mount a comeback in the knowledge that defeat will seal the fate of the title. Something which will suit Southampton’s counter-attack well.
West Brom’s transfer stance revealed as Rangers & Norwich plot move for player
West Brom are open to selling Cedric Kipre in the summer transfer window as Norwich City and Rangers monitor the defender.
The centre-back joined Albion from Wigan in 2020 but he has struggled to establish himself as a regular since, which is why he went on loan to Charleroi last season.
Whilst he has been more involved this campaign, making 14 league appearances, it’s been clear for some time that Steve Bruce had plenty of players ahead of Kipre in the pecking order.
Therefore, it’s perhaps no surprise that Birmingham Live have revealed that Albion are willing to let the 25-year-old go in the upcoming window as they look to reshape the squad.
The update states that the Baggies want to recoup the £1m fee they spent to bring Kipre to the Hawthorns, with Norwich City and Rangers thought to be admirers of the former Motherwell man.
If a permanent move can’t be agreed, it’s believed another temporary exit is also possible, so there’s every chance Kipre will leave West Brom before the new season starts.
Do Wolves and West Brom have these 10 things in common?
This would make a lot of sense because the reality is that Albion are well-stocked for options at centre-back and it’s an area Bruce still wants to strengthen further in the summer.
Kipre isn’t going to be part of his plans moving forward, so an exit would suit all parties as he really needs to be playing regularly at this stage of his career.
Joining either Rangers or Norwich would be a good move for the player and he will hope their interest results in a formal bid over the coming weeks.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.