Premier League • England

Chelsea transfer news: Kepa Arrizabalaga becomes ‘number one objective’ for club only willing to cover one-third of salary

Kepa Arrizabalaga consoling Edouard Mendy

Kepa Arrizabalaga features prominently on the list of goalkeepers Napoli are considering signing, and a report has revealed how a deal with Chelsea could be structured.

Arrizabalaga has largely been a backup for Chelsea since the arrival of Edouard Mendy in 2020. Previously, he was their first choice after becoming the most expensive goalkeeper signing of all time.

But the Spaniard struggled to live up to the expectations upon him at Stamford Bridge. This summer seems like the right time for him to find a new club, where he can play more regularly.

Kepa remains under contract until 2025 with Chelsea, who are therefore under no pressure to sell him immediately. But it is unlikely he would want a third consecutive season of sitting on the bench.

Hence, there has been the suggestion of a loan exit for Arrizabalaga, which may suit some of his suitors. Among them are Napoli.

The Serie A side want a new number one to usurp Alex Meret. In that regard, they have been looking into a loan move for Arrizabalaga.

Now, Calciomercato have revealed how the deal might work. The Italian website names Kepa as Napoli’s “most concrete objective” to fill their vacancy in goal.

Also in contention are Keylor Navas of PSG, Neto of Barcelona and Kevin Trapp of Eintracht Frankfurt. But good relations with Chelsea after Kalidou Koulibaly’s transfer the other way are only adding to Napoli’s belief that a deal for Arrizabalaga could be their best option.

The key obstacle to their acquisition of the former Athletic Bilbao goalie would be his salary. Kepa is currently on £155,000 per week at Chelsea, which is in the region of €9million per season in Napoli’s currency.

However – crucially – Calciomercato confirm Arrizabalaga is willing to lower his salary. What’s more, Chelsea could end up covering some of the costs themselves still.

In turn, Napoli would only commit around €3m of Kepa’s salary for the upcoming season. If it goes well, perhaps a permanent transfer could follow whereby he may have to adjust his demands again.

Kepa Arrizabalaga eager for fresh start

But there seems to be a willingness from the 27-year-old to make the move. It would be his first experience of playing in Serie A.

Kepa Arrizabalaga needs honest talks with Chelsea about his future

Kepa Arrizabalaga needs honest talks with Chelsea about his future

Kepa Arrizabalaga will likely leave Chelsea this summer with Newcastle interested but Thomas Tuchel calls for honest conversations to get a deal done

Whatever happens, Kepa does need a fresh start this summer, especially if he is to stand any chance of getting back into contention to go to the World Cup with Spain. As things stand, such a proposition looks unlikely.

The Napoli move would still do him good, though, so it will be interesting to see if he ends up there. In turn, Chelsea would have Marcus Bettinelli as support for Mendy, but one wonders if they could consider an additional option to be the main backup.

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