Elements of surprise either way as Chelsea outcast presented two exit routes

Date published: Thursday 7th October 2021 9:29 - Samuel Bannister

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Antonio Rudiger

Kepa Arrizabalaga has been offered two potential escape routes away from Chelsea, according to reports – each of which may come with some degree of surprise.

Kepa was the most expensive goalkeeper in the world when he joined Chelsea in 2018. However, he is now not even their first choice. Edouard Mendy arrived in 2020 and impressed enough to make the number one spot his own.

There have subsequently been doubts about Kepa’s future for a while. But he remained at the club over the summer and his contract still runs until 2025.

Now, though, exit links are cropping up once again for the 27-year-old. According to various reports in Italy, he has re-emerged as a target for Lazio.

Kepa was considered by the Rome-based club in the summer, but they stuck with Pepe Reina and Thomas Strakosha. But with both out of contract at the end of the season, they could seek a more permanent first choice.

Veteran Reina has overtaken Strakosha in the hierarchy, so a younger option may be the best solution. At 27, Kepa is at a good age for a goalkeeper if he can rediscover some form.

The move would come with an element of surprise, though. Lazio are coached by ex-Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, who famously clashed with Kepa during their time working together.

In a now infamous moment, the Spaniard refused to be substituted before a penalty shootout. Kepa has since explained the disagreement, though, so they could be on the same page again.

Outlets such as Corriere Dello Sport and Radiosei, Kepa is an option for Sarri’s side still.

Barcelona battle for Kepa?

But they are not his only admirers, as Fichajes have included him in a list of three potential goalkeeper targets for Barcelona.

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has lost some form and as a high earner could be sacrificed by the Blaugrana. They would need to source a replacement to allow him to leave, though.

Three names are on their mind, according to Fichajes. The players in question are Andre Onana of Ajax, Gianluigi Donnarumma of PSG, and Kepa.

Onana is out of contract at the end of the season and will be looking for a new club. Donnarumma, meanwhile, joined PSG as a free agent in the summer but is yet to dislodge Keylor Navas. It seems less likely he would be on the move so soon, though.

As for Kepa, a move could be feasible, although it may raise some eyebrows.

Kepa.TEAMtalk

Such a transfer would take him back to La Liga, but the stature of Barcelona remains grand despite their financial struggles and Kepa would have a tough act to follow in Ter Stegen.

He will have to assess his situation in the coming months before any potential decision about his next step.

READ MOREChelsea star makes ‘distracted’ transfer vow as major exit links grow

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