Kepa Arrizabalaga was brought in by Chelsea to Stamford Bridge after Thibaut Courtois left for Madrid in 2018.
Chelsea matched his £71million release clause and signed him from Athletic Bilbao to make him the No.1 at the club. But the Spaniard has had a disappointing season so far, his poor form causing Frank Lampard to bench him and play 38-year-old Willy Caballero instead.
The goalkeeper had featured 30 times for Bilbao in LaLiga in the 2017/18 season with 7 clean sheets which earned him a place in Spain’s World Cup squad. His lightning-fast reflexes and calm composure made him an exciting young goalkeeper.
The most expensive goalkeeper in the world, is two years into his current seven year deal at the club. But his decline in form this season under Frank Lampard is concerning. He is currently ranked in 27th place out of 33 goalkeepers and his save percentage is the worst in the top six, a meager 2.5% in the Premier League. His dip in form caused him to lose the starting spot in Spain’s Euro qualifiers to De Gea.
Lampard spoke about his goalkeeper earlier in the season with Chelsea struggling to keep clean sheets, saying, “Goalkeepers pride themselves on clean sheets. One of the things I’ve seen from Kepa this season from working with him is that he’s a very determined and very good professional who wants to improve.”
“He goes about his work daily in a way that is very focused and I love that. In terms of confidence, his confidence shouldn’t go down. The clean sheets are not always just his own responsibility. He knows that.
“But when there have been moments this season where he feels it may have been his responsibility, he is very open to accept that fact and work to improve. I’ve been really impressed with him.”
Meanwhile Ajax’s Andre Onana has revealed that he’s set to move away from Ajax this summer. In an interview with Dutch publication AD, Onana revealed that he was ready to take the next step in his career “Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with Ajax and I am very grateful to the club,”
“It was five great years here, but now my time has come to take a step. We made that appointment last year.
“I don’t yet know what will happen, but my ambitions and agreements are clear.”
Chelsea have been heavily linked with the Cameroon international and Stamford Bridge has emerged as the preferred destination for Onana.
The 24-year-old is one of Europe’s most exciting keepers and has an excellent save percentage at 71%. Rumored to be around £25million, he will be a very good signing for the club.
According to reports, if Chelsea do sign Onana, it won’t be to replace Kepa but compete with him for the No.1 spot. Lampard will look at Onana to add more competition for Kepa and not as an outright replacement the Spaniard.
But should Chelsea sign Onana in the first place?
Kepa recently revealed that he is now confident that he has the manager’s trust and singing another goalkeeper could cause Kepa to lose confidence and feel that his position is threatened.
Chelsea signed Kepa on a long term contract because they believed in the potential that the Spaniard has. The club should not turn their back on a record signing on the basis of a bad patch of form.
The Blues invested in the player, who is still young and has plenty of time on his hands to develop into a world class goalkeeper.
They in recent years have let talent like Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah slip through their hands and they should be patient with Kepa. They have a young keeper on their hands who needs time and patience, to develop and give his best for the club.
Chelsea should avoid signing Andre Onana and instead keep faith in Kepa.