Chelsea have confirmed the club record signing of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Athletic Bilbao stopper signed a seven-year deal to become the most expensive goalkeeper in football after Chelsea paid his £71.8million release clause. Chelsea’s new addition beats the record fee Liverpool paid for Roma star Alisson last month and ends a hectic couple of hours at the club.
Kepa arrives to replace the departed Thibaut Courtois who joined Real Madrid earlier on Thursday evening, and the Spaniard expressed his delight at becoming a Blue. ‘It’s a very important decision for me, for my career, and also for my personal life,’ Kepa said. ‘So many things attracted me to the club, all the titles the club has won, the other players, the city, the English Premier League. It’s an accumulation of things, and I am very glad Chelsea has decided to trust me and to take me in as well.’
The 23-year-old becomes a Blue after Chelsea moved quickly when previous No.1 Courtois refused to return to pre-season on Monday. New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri will be delighted about the new face at the club and can now include the goalkeeper in the squad that will face Huddersfield on Saturday. Director Marina Granovskaia said: ‘Kepa is a talent we have admired for a long time and we are extremely excited about his arrival.
‘He has already demonstrated fantastic quality and consistency and will be a big part of any success Chelsea have in the coming years. ‘His long-term contract reflects the belief we have in him and we look ahead to the coming seasons with an enormous sense of optimism.’ Kepa arrives hot on the heels of Real midfielder Mateo Kovacic who joined the Londoners on a season-long loan.