Chelsea have begun looking for a new goalkeeper, according to reports, throwing Kepa Arrizabalaga’s future into doubt.
Kepa’s recent form has come in for criticism from sections of the Chelsea support, leading to an alleged search for a replacement.
Chelsea planning to replace Kepa? Five things to know…
- After Kepa’s mixed display against Arsenal on Tuesday, Frank Lampard told reporters: “With his feet a couple of times today, he took too long and nearly gave it away.”
- Chelsea are considering signing a new goalkeeper because Kepa has not lived up to expectations since his record £71m move from Athletic Bilbao, according to the Times.
- The report suggests the process of scouting a new goalkeeper has been expedited by the fact second-choice goalkeeper Willy Caballero, 38, is out of contract at the end of the season.
- “Sometimes that can change the momentum of a game,” Lampard added on Kepa’s midweek performance. “That’s something obviously that he’ll know and has to look at – and we have to look at.”
- Officially, Kepa hasn’t made any errors leading to goals this season – but he was criticised for failing to keep out Newcastle’s later winner against Chelsea last week.
Do Chelsea need to replace Kepa and who has been linked?
Chelsea fans had begun to warm to Kepa towards the end of last season despite a very public falling out with then-manager Maurizio Sarri during the Carabao Cup final. The Spaniard helped the Blues finish third in the Premier League and win the Europa League in 2018/19.
But his performances this season have raised concerns over his future place in the team. Kepa has made 41 saves in the Premier League this term, fewer than 16 other goalkeepers, and his save percentage is just 55.56%. Excluding all goalkeepers who have started fewer than four Premier League games this season, only Angus Gunn has a worse rate. All told, 23 goalkeepers have a better rate than Kepa this season.
Though Chelsea’s scouting mission is still thought to be in its early stages, Burnley’s Nick Pope has already been mentioned as a possible replacement for Kepa. Only four Premier League goalkeepers have made more saves than Pope this season (77), and the England international has a better save percentage (66.37%) than Kepa. Dean Henderson is another goalkeeper mentioned in the Times’ story, although it is also noted that Manchester United would be unlikely to sell to a big rival.
Pope’s chances of usurping Jordan Pickford as England’s first-choice between the sticks would probably improve were he to join a side battling for Champions League qualification. He is 1/10 to be named in Gareth Southgate’s initial 23-man England squad for Euro 2020 with William Hill, so can at least expect to be in the conversation.
That said, Chelsea may want to sign a player with more European experience.