Chelsea have completed the signing of Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga for a world-record fee of £71.6 million for a goalkeeper. The Spanish side confirmed that the goalkeeper’s release clause had been met and has signed a seven-year contract with the Stamford Bridge outfit.
Chelsea sign Kepa Arrizabalaga
Kepa will replace Thibaut Courtois as the Belgium international has completed a move to Real Madrid.
The £71.6 million fee eclipses that of Alisson Becker’s transfer fee from AS Roma to Liverpool, when he completed a £65 million move last month.
The Spanish goalkeeper is highly-rated and has already impressed during his relatively short career. The 23-year-old, who was part of Spain’s World Cup squad, made his debut for the country in November 2017.
He was once thought to be a transfer target for Real Madrid earlier this summer. However, it is believed he rejected the chance to head to the Los Blancos. Instead, he decided to sign a seven-and-a-half year deal with Bilbao which contained the £71.6m buy-out clause.
He earned rave reviews from former manager Ernesto Valverde for his shot-stopping and reflexes and his statistics will help to support those praises.
Kepa saved two of three penalties he faced in La Liga. He also made 64 saves from shots inside the penalty area – the third most in the division.
Maurizio Sarri has seen the 23-year-old in action first hand and revealed that he felt he was a very good goalkeeper.
“I saw him one year ago. My first impression was that he is a very good goalkeeper, very young, but very, very, good.”
Chelsea will be hoping Kepa will be ready for Premier League football and will not find it difficult to adapt.
The Spaniard is undoubtedly one of the most gifted young shot-stoppers in Europe at the moment. They will hope the huge transfer fee will not weigh him down.