Former Chelsea boss exposes ‘real problem’ in efforts to poach Tuchel star

Date published: Saturday 9th October 2021 4:58 - Jonny Whitfield

Maurizio Sarri, Lazio manager September 2021

Lazio and former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri wants to rekindle his ties with goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, but a key problem could reportedly scupper the deal.

Kepa made headlines in the summer of 2018 when he became the most expensive stopper in the world. In fact, Liverpool had only made Alisson take that record a few weeks earlier.

However, Kepa arrived at Stamford Bridge looking to stamp his own mark on the Premier League.

He has largely struggled in those efforts, though, and Edouard Mendy has now replaced him as the number one. As a result, speculation over a move away from Chelsea for him has proved constant.

Lazio reportedly have transfer interest in the Spaniard. Not only does Sarri – who brought him to London – manage the Serie A club, but they require a new goalkeeper.

Pepe Reina will soon depart as he approaches his 40th birthday. Nevertheless, he has kept his place in the team ahead of second-choice option Thomas Strakosha.

According to Corriere dello Sport, Lazio still have interest in Kepa and they want an initial loan deal. Indeed, the Italian club opened dialogue with Chelsea over such a deal last summer, but no move materialised.

What’s more, the ‘real problem’ is that Chelsea would have to pay over half of Kepa’s salary and, if Chelsea were to let him go, they would want to get rid of his wages.

At least half of the salary equates to around €4million (£3.4million), a significant sum for Chelsea. Nevertheless, Kepa is a firm target for Lazio sporting director Igli Tare and he has his eyes on a potential summer move.

The goalkeeper’s contract only runs out in 2025 after he became Chelsea’s club-record signing when he joined.

He has still played a role this season, despite Mendy acting as the number one.

He came on for the UEFA Super Cup penalty shoot-out against Villarreal and Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel revealed how the club’s analysts deserved praise for making sure Kepa’s ability at saving penalties was used.

Chelsea man disappointed with game time

Timo Werner Chelsea

Chelsea may have one of the strongest squads in the Premier League. With that, though, comes the responsibility to keep everybody happy.

While Kepa has only played one league game this season, forward Timo Werner is also facing a battle for game time.

Romelu Lukaku’s arrival up top has shaken up the pecking order and the likes of Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech are in the hunt for match action.

Germany international Werner has now opened up on his recent battle for minutes under Tuchel.


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