Premier League • England

Motivation behind surprise January deal that would cripple Chelsea revealed

Marcos Alonso, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Cesar Azpilicueta at Chelsea training

Maurizio Sarri is hoping to secure a shock Chelsea raid this month, and a potential reason why the unlikely deal could go through has emerged.

Chelsea are entering a key period in their season with fixture pile-up at a new high. The Blues travel to north London on Wednesday for the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final clash with Tottenham. They then face title rivals Manchester City, Brighton and Tottenham in the league over a nine-day span.

Thomas Tuchel will be without his No1 goalkeeper for the run of matches with Edouard Mendy away on AFCON duty.

That will provide Kepa Arrizabalaga with a chance to shine after featuring mainly as a cup keeper since Mendy’s arrival.

However, according to the Athletic, Lazio are seeking to sign Kepa on loan this month.

Obviously, Chelsea would be reluctant to lose their second choice stopper while Mendy is absent.

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However, they do have Marcus Bettinelli on the books, with the ex-Fulham goalkeeper capable of deputising on occasion. Indeed, Bettinelli was selected to start in their FA Cup third round victory over Chesterfield on Saturday.

Citing the Athletic report, Sports Illustrated reveal Chelsea sought to loan out Kepa last summer. A deal is stated to have been ‘close’, but the Spaniard ultimately remained at Stamford Bridge.

Lazio have ray of hope over Kepa deal

Lazio are now the prime candidate to sign Kepa this month and ESPN suggest a reason why the unlikely deal could occur.

With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar less than a year away, the outlet state international ambitions may be on the 27-year-old’s mind.

His place in the Spanish set-up is in doubt while installed as a back-up goalkeeper at Chelsea. A loan away to generate regular gametime would do his international chances a world of good.

Ultimately, however, Chelsea are unlikely to sanction a move with Mendy facing up to a month away in Cameroon.

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Desperate Barcelona reveal Chelsea target’s transfer cost

Meanwhile, Chelsea have been told how much it will cost to sign a Barcelona star this month, according to a report.

The Spanish club need to trim their squad so they can register new signing Ferran Torres. That cannot be done at the moment as it will put Barcelona over their wage cap. Barcelona have already shifted Philippe Coutinho out on loan to Aston Villa, but more exits are still required.

Barca could sell to the Premier League as Chelsea are hoping to sign American star Sergino Dest.

A recent report from Sport Witness, citing Spanish outlet Sport, claims he is their number one target at right-back.

Thomas Tuchel’s side are apparently ready to go ‘all out’ for the 21-year-old.

Barca’s demands have now been set, according to Spanish outlet El Nacional (via The Blaugrana will accept bids worth €40m (£33.4m) during the January transfer window.

And Dest could excel at Stamford Bridge if Chelsea meet his price tag. He is already familiar with forward Christian Pulisic, given their time in the USA national team. He also played alongside Hakim Ziyech at Ajax.

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