The future of Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga looks likely to be in Italy, but perhaps not in the destination that has been expected after news emerged of another club’s interest.
Kepa has lost his place as Chelsea’s number one and Edouard Mendy looks unlikely to relinquish it any time soon. It has prompted a dilemma for the Blues, who invested a world-record sum for a goalkeeper when signing the Spaniard in 2018.
He spent two seasons as their first choice, but has been firmly dislodged since Mendy’s arrival. Kepa has only played in three matches this season so far, keeping two clean sheets. At the age of 27, he will be wanting to find more regular gametime.
To do so, it appears he will have to leave Chelsea, even though they have him under contract until 2025. A few clubs are still interested in him, despite his loss of form. Even so, it seems impossible for Chelsea to recoup the fee they spent on him.
They will have to treat each offer as it comes – and the calls may be arriving from Italy.
There have been plenty of rumours about a transfer for Kepa to Lazio in recent weeks. Such a move would reunite him with ex-Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, with whom he once had an infamous disagreement that has now been brushed under the carpet.
Lazio’s first-choice keeper at present is Pepe Reina, but the former Liverpool man is 39 years old and will be phased out at some point. Kepa could be a feasible replacement.
However, some obstacles are standing in the way of a deal. Furthermore, it has now emerged that a different Serie A side are keen on the signing of Kepa. According to Fichajes, Juventus “insist” upon signing him next summer.
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny currently occupies the starting berth in Turin. In recent years, he has shown much better form than he managed in the Premier League. But some errors have begun to creep into his game again.
As a result, Juventus are considering replacing him next summer. Kepa will be a prime contender to take his role, as per Fichajes.
Juventus still keen on Kepa
Juve are reportedly long-term admirers of the former Athletic Bilbao keeper. Next year could be the time for them to act upon their interest, as they look to move Szczesny on or relegate him to a backup role.
Chelsea will have to work out the best strategy for Kepa’s future. Getting a decent fee will be important, but not necessarily easy. In addition, they would have to source their own new backup keeper to replace him.
But it seems clear already that Mendy will be the one they rely on, so questions of his deputy’s future will continue throughout the season.
A January departure would be unlikely and does not seem to be in Juventus’ mind either. Kepa may thus have to wait until the summer to find somewhere to play on a more regular basis.
Since joining the club, he has made 112 appearances, but he may not have too many left.