Kepa Arrizabalaga is all set to be the most expensive goalkeeper in history with Chelsea loosening the strings of its purse up to £71m (€80m)
World Cup Golden Glove winner Thibaut Courtois is all set to make the move from Chelsea to Real Madrid after weeks of transfer rumors and speculations. However, the Blues also do not appear to wish to solely depend upon Willy Caballero and Rob Green and the mechanism to rope in Kepa is already in motion.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is all set to be the most expensive goalkeeper in history with Chelsea loosening the strings of its purse up to £71m (€80m). Here is a comprehensive list of what makes him priceless:
1. Age: Kepa is merely 23 with 200 International appearances to his name already. This makes him a long term prospect in a crowd of goalkeepers who generally guard the nets well beyond 30s.
2. Zinedine Zidane's role in his career: The now departed French legend and Madrid boss had vetoed Kepa's transfer to Bernabeu during the January transfer window. However, this veto was purely on the grounds that he did not want his squad disturbed mid season.
3. Goalkeeping is in his Spanish blood: Spaniards have historically had an advantageous position when it comes to goalkeeping skills. So while Kepa only has one cap to his name, it is still a significant achievement. He was a part of the World Cup this year alongside David De Gea and Pepe Reina. His debut against a Costa Rica in a friendly match last November was also memorable because he managed to keep a clean sheet in the 5-0 win.
4. He nearly took over De Gea: While he was not picked up to play in the World Cup, rumor mills were abuzz that Spain boss Fernando Hierro had considered bringing in Kepa after De Gea's poor performance in the first game.
5. He is a lad of the soil: Kepa belongs to the small fishing town of Ondarroa in the Basque country. He joined Athletic Bilbao aged 10, a club that emphasizes coming forth of local talent by a policy of only fielding Basque players.
6. Coming the long way: For Kepa it was not the senior team at Bilbao immediately. He spent initial two years in feeder club Basconia in the fourth tier. He also made 50 appearances for the reserve side Bilbao Athletic in the third tier. It was finally in September 2016 that he made his La Liga debut.
7. He has been rated by the bigwigs: Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui was the reason behind his international debut and he also got him in the World Cup squad. Earlier Marcelo Bielsa was the first to name him in the first team squad at Athletic, and Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde made him first choice. Keeping in mind current scheme of events, it is clear that even Maurizio Sarri is rooting for him.
8. Scope of betterment: While at 23 he might be the most expensive goalkeeper, he is far from perfection. His Waterloo lies in the air and his match against Valencia saw many errors. However, what he has is a lot of time on his side to improve and better himself.
9. He has won Europe: Kepa has proved his mettle as he was guarding the nets for Spain as they won the Euro Under-19 Championship in 2012. Team-mates that day included Suso, Paco Alcacer, Gerard Deulofeu and Juan Bernat.
10. Keeping future prospects open: When his move to Real Madrid did not turn out as expected, he signed a renewed 7 year contract. He said at the time: “It was a life decision, deciding which path to take in my career. I needed time to get together with my family and closest friends. In the end, I wanted to be sure and weigh everything up. Once it became clear, I made the decision I made by signing a contract for several years. I’m very happy about the path I’ve taken.” However, few months down the lime, he isn't shying away from new prospects.
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Last Updated Aug 9, 2018, 6:02 PM IST