Premier League • England

Kepa challenges Tuchel with Chelsea sizing up two deals to replace Spaniard

Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga dejected after Sheffield Utd equalise 2-2

Chelsea could reportedly be prepared to let Kepa Arrizabalaga leave the club this summer, as the ‘keeper searches for more game time.

Kepa featured in just four Premier League games last season as he fell to second-choice behind Edouard Mendy. Having joined Chelsea in 2018 for a world-record transfer fee for a ‘keeper at £71.6m, Kepa has failed to match their expectations of him. Now, the Spaniard could be set for a move away as he admits to being desperate for more time on the pitch.

Speaking to Marca, the 27-year-old admitted to having a strong relationship with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.

However, he also claimed that in the future he is working towards becoming the number one choice at Stamford Bridge.

He said: “Right now I’m a Chelsea player, but what is clear to me is that I want to play more. I’ve come from a year or two where, when I’ve played, I’ve had great performances

“The conversation with him (Tuchel) is easy, on a day-to-day basis he is totally accessible to the players. With me, personally, I notice the affection and confidence he has in me.

“Obviously, I want to play more. It’s true that he’s choosing another teammate (Mendy) and that’s what I’m trying to change in my day-to-day life. I want to play and that’s what I train and prepare for.”

Should Kepa decide to leave, it is unclear where his next destination would be.

However, Chelsea are unlikely to get much of a return on the original fee they paid Athletic Bilbao for him in 2018. Because of this, it is likely that Chelsea would prefer any deal for Kepa to be a season-long loan, rather than permanent.

Potential Kepa replacements already lined up

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Saul Niguez, Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta Chelsea v Palmeiras February 2022

Despite being relegated in the squad pecking order, Kepa still holds a valuable position in the team.

A reliable back-up ‘keeper is a neccessity inside the Premier League, with injuries occurring on a regular basis.

That being said, Chelsea have already lined up two potential replacements if Kepa does leave.

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

Thomas Strakosha has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea. With his contract at Lazio expired, Strakosha would be a cheap replacement.

However, the player admitted interest from elsewhere within the top flight makes his next destination a difficult choice.

Another player that Chelsea are extremely keen on is MLS sensation Gabriel Slonina. The 18-year-old has attracted interest from Chelsea and Real Madrid following a string of impressive performances for Chicago Fire.

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