Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has labelled reports linking Kepa Arrizabalaga with a move away this summer as “false”.
Spain stopper Kepa moved to Stamford Bridge from Athletic Bilbao for £72million in August 2018, overtaking Liverpool counterpart Alisson Becker as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.
However, the 25-year-old recently recorded the worst save percentage in the Premier League and last month lost his place to Willy Caballero, who has impressed ever since.
As such, reports have suggested that Chelsea could look to offload Kepa as part of a players-plus-cash deal for Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak.
Speaking in a press conference on Friday, however, Lampard dismissed such speculation and backed the player to make a claim to return to his starting lineup.
“I have read a lot of false articles this week, probably guessing on players,” the manager said.
“Every time I see a Chelsea player put on the shirt they are in control of their own destiny somewhat individually. You can’t always control collectively the result.
“All I am focusing on is game by game to get the best finish to the season that we can possibly get.
“Then, of course, there are decisions for the club ongoing in the summer, we have to look at that.
“But no way am I jumping forward to the future now and a lot of those reports are wrong.”
Kepa has struggled for form this term and Caballero has impressed in stepping up, pulling off several smart saves in Tuesday’s comprehensive 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich.
Asked about his relationship with the big-money goalkeeper, Lampard replied: “My relationship is fine; between player and manager I have around 20 players or so to keep happy, I can’t keep them all happy at the same time.
“All I expect is their professionalism in training, which Kepa has given. Every position is the same.
“You train well to try to get into the team if you are not in it. If you are in it then you perform to good levels to keep yourself in the team.
“Those are the standards we expect at this club. That’s what I demand. Every player is in charge of their own destiny to a degree in terms of that. Kepa is training well but Willy Caballero is also training well and playing pretty well.
“He made some decent saves against Bayern Munich. I have competition there, but I will decide as we go. That’s why I am very strong on how you train and turn up, every day is pivotal on how you are as a Chelsea player.”
In other news, Lampard also told the press conference that he is concerned about Tammy Abraham’s lingering ankle injury.
Abraham initially suffered the injury against Arsenal in January and has been in and out of the team since, before hobbling out of the warm-down after Tuesday’s defeat to Bayern.