Premier League • England

Costly Chelsea signing ‘really hopes’ his Stamford Bridge spell is over after ‘quick and easy’ exit decision

Kepa Arrizabalaga arriving for a Chelsea match

Kepa Arrizabalaga is aiming to make a permanent move from Chelsea to Real Madrid next year despite there being no option to buy in his loan deal.

Real Madrid announced their addition of Arrizabalaga on Monday after reacting to an injury to their usual first-choice goalkeeper, ex-Chelsea man Thibaut Courtois. Having signed Robert Sanchez from Brighton recently, Chelsea allowed Kepa to move on.

However, as things stand, the Spaniard will be due back in west London next summer after his loan spell ends, by which time there will be one year remaining on his contract as a Chelsea player.

Speaking at his scheduled unveiling by his new club on Tuesday, though, Arrizabalaga has suggested he wants to stay in the Spanish capital for good.

“I really hope Real Madrid will keep me at the end of the season,” Kepa confessed. “Today is day one and I’m here on loan, but we’ll have time and we’ll see. I hope that with my effort and performances this can happen.

“When I had the offer from Real Madrid, it was all clear for me. It’s true that I had other offers from big clubs, but the decision was quite quick and easy once this option came about.”

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Kepa had begun his conference by declaring his move to Madrid one of the most important steps of his career.

“Hello and thanks to everyone who has made today possible,” he said.

“Today is one of the most important and special days in my sporting career. I am very proud to form part of Real Madrid and I take on this new challenge with great enthusiasm and I’ll bring hard work, commitment and effort.

“I hope that we can win many titles, and increase Real Madrid’s trophy haul even more. Thank you all very much and Hala Madrid!”

Kepa grateful for unforgettable Chelsea spell

Chelsea made Kepa the most expensive goalkeeper in history when activating his release clause to sign him from Athletic Club back in 2018.

His form over the years sometimes failed to live up to his price tag, prompting Chelsea to buy Edouard Mendy to compete with him in 2020. The Senegalese star surpassed Kepa in the pecking order at first until a change of fortunes last season.

Now, neither of them are at the club anymore, but Arrizabalaga still speaks fondly of his time at Chelsea.

“I was able to play with great players and we competed for most titles most years,” he said after winning four trophies with the club. “It was a great experience and one I’ll never forget.”

Arrizabalaga has 163 appearances for Chelsea to his name, as well as 13 caps for Spain – the country in which he will now be continuing his club career.