Could Robert Sanchez be the long term Chelsea No.1?

By Swapnil
8 Min Read

Chelsea’s interest in Brighton players & their backroom staff have become a thing now with the latest acquisition of Robert Sanchez continuing a long list of transfers from the Seagulls.

The goalkeeper was a point of interest for the Blues since last season and now the club has shiftily acted upon this interest given that Sanchez was out of the starting XI with new coach Roberto de Zerbi preferring Jason Steele as his No.1 choice for the man in the posts.


Robert Sanchez shot to prominence when coach Graham Potter dropped long time No.1 Matt Ryan from the starting XI. The Spanish goalkeeper is again an excellent example of the incredible scouting system at Brighton. The club bought him Levante when he was 15 and subsequently went on loans to League Two side Forest Green Rovers and the League One outfit Rochdale. After returning from loan in 2020, Potter felt this was the right time to make a change and thus gave Sanchez a shot at first team Premier League football and the now Spanish international took it and ran as far as he could.

87 starts, 99 goals allowed with a save rate for a Brighton side which kept improving from a relegation threatened side to a Europa League one has Sanchez a lot to thank for. Standing at nearly 2m, the former Levante academy graduate is an aggressive goalkeeper for any attacker to go up against. He is also excellent in claiming corners, something Kepa does not prefer to do.

Sanchez is excellent with his feet and often was the starting point for a lot of Brighton attacks. For instance look at this clip,

A single pass from Sanchez manages to cut 5 Chelsea attackers and starts an offensive with Lallana being the orchestrator. The young Chelsea side will need these kinds of passes which cut the defense and get the ball to Enzo Fernandez who can use his passing abilities to spray balls across the pitch. He is always assured with his passing and helps his team reach inside the opposition box fairly quickly. If we have a look at this graphic, we can see how his goal kicks could help the team kickstart at attack with his teammates not needing to carry the ball for long distances which increases the threat of opposition pressing and retrieving it.


Ever since Chelsea let go of Petr Cech to Arsenal, the No.1 goalkeeping spot has been somewhat of an unstable spot. Courtois, Kepa, Mendy and even ‘Big’ Willy Caballero have assumed the role of being the starting goalkeeper at Chelsea Football Club. Every great team has a goalkeeper for about 5 to 7 years and none of the above mentioned players have stayed or started five consecutive seasons as No.1 for the Blues.

Kepa has shown a lot of improvement last season after re emerging as the starting goalie for the club after a downspell which saw him lose his spot to Edouard Mendy as the Senegalese International had one of the best spells any player would dream to have. But Kepa kept working hard and regained the trust of everyone at the club.

Even though it was a rough year for the Blues, the Spaniard outperformed, keeping nine clean sheets despite ranking fourteenth in minutes for all regular goalkeepers in the Premier League. He ranked sixth in the save percentage metric and was third in the post shot expected goals minus goals allowed.

He has continuously received criticism from various sectors of the footballing community for his inability to deal with long range efforts. But if we can look past the hilarious memes and trolls we can actually see that he improved this part of his game, allowing only three goals one of which was a free-kick by the specialist himself, James Ward-Prowse.

But one thing as a fan I feel is the sense of nervousness whenever an opposition attacker takes charge at goal, especially last season. Also there is always a general feeling that Kepa can be replaced with a player of better quality and higher ceiling.

And with news coming in that Kepa is of interest to Bayern Munich where his former coach Thomas Tuchel is managing the club, the Blues have now a choice to let go of another keeper after selling Mendy to Al-Ahli.


It feels like the correct time to let Kepa go and start with fresh set of players and fresh of ideas rather than realizing in the middle of a crucial point of a season that you could have let of a keeper who you were struggling to move on a few years but did not let go after a season where he has done pretty well. As for Sanchez it means that the path is clear for him to dawn the yellow jersey.

Even though we talked about Sanchez’s prowess as a ball playing goalkeeper they are still some way behind Kepa’s skills on the ball but Robert will bring about a sense of calmness that the club has lacked since the days of Cech and Courtois. Regardless whether Bayern exercise their option of buying the Spaniard it feels very much that the ways are set in motion to make Sanchez the starting goalkeeper at Stamford Bridge this season.

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