Chelsea are on the brink of signing 23-year old Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao as a potential replacement of Thibaut Courtois, as reported by BBC Sport and The Guardian. The report comes amidst reports that Thibaut Courtois, yet to report back to duty since Monday, is all-set to conclude a deal with Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The mega-bucks record deal will bring many jaws down as Chelsea will be breaking previous records including the £66.8 m Liverpool pulled out for Brasil no.1 Alisson and £58 m the Blues splashed for striker Alvaro Morata.
According to The Guardian, Kepa is on-route to London via Madrid with his agent, and is scheduled to be in the capital on Wednesday afternoon. It is believed major points of the deal may have already been agreed, with only an official announcement left by Chelsea to follow.
Bilbao may be well pleased with the profitable outcome since they came close to see Kepa off to Real Madrid for a mere £17.9 m in January, when the magnificent goalkeeper even passed a medical for the Spanish giants. Fortunately for Bilbao, the then boss Zinedine Zidane was hesitant to disrupt the teams flow in the middle of the season and scrapped the move with the board.
Previously, Chelsea have been linked with more economical options including Stoke’s Jack Butland, Sevilla’s Sergio Rico and England World Cup hero Jordan Pickford, but, the news to replace for Courtois comes as no surprise. The 26-year-old Belgian clearly expressed his intent to move to Spain in-order to be closer to his family.