Premier League • England

Star reveals Chelsea exit was finalised in ‘just two phone calls’; refuses to discuss potential Blues return

Thiago Silva. Kepa Arrizabalaga, Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic, Chelsea

Thiago Silva with former Chelsea players Kepa Arrizabalaga, Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic

Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has revealed just how quickly his summer move to Real Madrid was decided, while also shutting down questions about a possible return to Stamford Bridge.

Arrizabalaga’s place in the Chelsea starting eleven came under threat as soon as new manager Mauricio Pochettino brought in rival shot-stopper Robert Sanchez from Brighton. While Arrizabalaga initially appeared to be Pochettino’s first-choice keeper, the Spaniard knew that his spot would soon come under threat.

Arrizabalaga was then linked with a big transfer to Bayern, in a move which would have reunited him with ex-Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel. Arrizabalaga would have helped Bayern to cope without the injured Manuel Neuer and Yann Sommer, after the latter signed for Inter.

Bayern made contact over Arrizabalaga’s prospective move to the Bundesliga, but the transfer was then torpedoed by Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti immediately identified the 29-year-old as a primary target after it emerged that usual number one Thibaut Courtois would miss a majority of the campaign after rupturing his ACL.

Arrizabalaga could not turn such an opportunity down, and he swiftly rejected Bayern in favour of the Spanish titans. On August 14, Chelsea announced that Arrizabalaga had left for Madrid on a season-long loan deal.

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The transfer does not include a buy option for Madrid, though Arrizabalaga is hoping to impress and convince Los Blancos to sign him permanently.

During an interview with Spanish newspaper AS (via Sport Witness), the former Athletic Club star spoke about how his return to La Liga happened.

Chelsea exit ‘was very quick’ – Kepa Arrizabalaga

“The loan move to Madrid was very quick. Everything was closed in a few hours, with just two phone calls,” he revealed.

“I had spent five seasons at a big club, Chelsea, and I thought a change could be good for me.

“It’s true that there was the Bayern option… but Real Madrid called and I didn’t think about it. If there were other opportunities before it doesn’t matter, what matters is that it became a reality last summer.”

Arrizabalaga was then asked about his Chelsea future, as he is still technically on the books of the West London side.

“After what happened in the summer, I don’t want to start thinking in October about what could happen in July,” he replied.

“But what I can say is that I am very happy. Of course, I will not lack work and enthusiasm and I will try to help make Madrid’s history even greater and enjoy every minute, every game to the fullest.”

This is not the first time Arrizabalaga has spoken about his summer move. On September 6, he appeared to send Chelsea a parting shot by suggesting that the project under Pochettino ‘is not the right one’. That is despite the manager telling Arrizabalaga that he ‘trusted’ him.

Meanwhile, Liverpool could be to blame after Manchester United and Chelsea were reportedly stopped from landing a Bundesliga forward.