Frank Lampard is reported to have identified two men he wants as a replacement for the Kepa Arrizabalaga at Chelsea amid claims the Blues are actively looking to sell the struggling Spaniard.
Kepa – the world’s most expensive keeper at £71million – was dropped to the bench for Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Leicester after a series of errors during the season so far and was replaced by 38-year-old veteran Willy Caballero.
According to Spanish outlet Cope, Lampard has lost complete faith in the Spain international and may not start him again for the rest of the campaign.
After the game at the King Power Stadium, Lampard explained: “It’s a decision I have not taken lightly. They train together, they are are close and it’s one I thought I’d make for this game. I trust in Willy, he’s very professional.”
Furthermore, it’s claimed the Blues have actively made contact with a number of LaLiga outfits to see if they have any interest in taking Kepa off their hands in the summer.
In addition, it is also reported that Lampard has asked the Stamford Bridge board to start looking for a replacement immediately so that they can finalise a move by June.
And now the Daily Mirror claims the Chelsea boss has two names in mind as a replacement, with Premier League stars Nick Pope of Burnley and Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita top of his wish-list.
Signing either men will not come cheap, with Pope especially likely to command a huge fee were the Blues to prise him away from the Clarets.
However, it’s claimed Lampard’s mind over Kepa is made up, though it is reported he is on something of a collision course with the Blues board with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia – who was instrumental in bringing Kepa to Stamford Bridge – said to be less than enthralled at the prospect of allowing Kepa to leave for a lower price than they paid Athletic Bilbao in 2018.
Kepa sees Euro 2020 dream fading
From Kepa’s point of view it could mean a damaging blow to his hopes of taking David De Gea’s starting spot for Spain in Euro 2020.
The 25-year-old was also hoping to oust the Manchester United stopper, but with very little game time that will prove an almost impossible decision for Spain coach Luis Enrique to make.
Lampard insisted he was not on the lookout for a new goalkeeper in January but insists Kepa needs to improve, and the recent omission poses as a major warning to the Spaniard.
The Blues boss said: “I’m not looking at signing a goalkeeper now. I’m aware of the criticism, but I’m not affected by it.
“Kepa knows there have been mistakes that have cost goals. That’s the nature of it and that needs to improve.”
Since his move to Chelsea, Kepa has made a 85 appearances in total and has conceded 94 goals.
He has played 24 times in the Premier League this season and also started in all six of the team’s Champions League games.
It’s not the first time the Spaniard has seen his future at Stamford Bridge called into question either, with the player’s astonishing act of defiance in the 2019 Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City also leading to claims he would be axed.