Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is hoping to win titles with new club Chelsea, after completing a £71.6 million move from Athletic Bilbao earlier this week. The 23-year-old, who is now the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, has been purchased by Chelsea to replace the outgoing Thibaut Courtois, who joined Real Madrid on Thursday.
Replacing Thibaut Courtois was never going to be an easy task, but in Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea could have one of the future greats of the game. Emerging from Athletic Bilbao cantera – the youth academy that has delivered the likes of Fernando Llorente, Iker Muniain, and Aymeric Laporte, Kepa became a regular feature in the Spanish top-flight in 2016. Towards the end of the 2016/17 season, Kepa was already considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga, and was even compared to legendary Spanish international ‘keeper Iker Casillas.
Last January Kepa was linked with an £18m move to Real Madrid, and even underwent a medical with Los Blancos before Zinedine Zidane decided to pull out of the transfer. Spotting the sudden demand for the youngster, Bilbao placed a £71m release clause on his contract. Kepa went on to make a total of 30 league appearances in 2017/18, keeping six clean sheets, and conceding 36 goals.
The Spaniard is set to kick off his Premier League career later today when Chelsea travel to Huddersfield. Ahead of the game, Kepa told Chelsea’s official app ‘The 5th Stand’: “All clubs need to fight to win titles and what all players want is to win. So what I would like is to win more titles for the club.
“This is what I aspire to do. I would like to be remembered at this club, when I leave years down the line, as a goalkeeper that has helped the club win a lot of titles and gone down in history.”
Kepa admitted that new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri had a significant impact on his decision to join the Blues, as the Italian had been given glowing references from many of Kepa’s friends in the game.
“I’m really looking forward to working with him [Maurizio Sarri], I am really looking forward to the first training session [on Thursday]. I’ve heard great things about him, great references.” said Kepa.
“I can’t wait to see that first hand, to meet him and work with him. I think his style isn’t too different from the style we used in the Spanish national team. I believe my qualities will fit with his style.”