Who will Chelsea replace Kepa Arrizabalaga with?
Michael Johnson | 28 July 2020
The stopper’s days look numbered at Stamford Bridge.
Kepa Arrizabalaga arrived at Chelsea for the eye-watering sum of £71.6 million back in 2018 and the world’s most expensive goalkeeper simply hasn’t lived up to that price tag.
Frank Lampard dropped the Spaniard for the final Premier League fixture, to be replaced by 38-year-old Willy Caballero. And it’s looking likely that he’ll miss out on the FA Cup final and Champions League too, with rumours swirling around Stamford Bridge that Chelsea are in the market for a replacement.
Saving just 55 of the 99 shots on target against him in the Premier League means he is has performed comfortably worse than the league’s other regular starters, with a save percentage of just 54% (Jordan Pickford was 19th out of 20 here, with 63%).
With all that in mind, who should Chelsea look to when replacing Kepa between the sticks?
The Burnley stopper had to wait for his shot at the big time, in a career that once included eight loan moves from parent club Charlton in four years. Initially signed as cover for Burnley, Pope took his chances when Tom Heaton suffered an injury against Crystal Palace back in 2017 and has barely looked back.
This season, Pope has kept 15 clean sheets for Burnley – second only to Liverpool’s Allison – while recording a save percentage of 71%. At 28-years-old he’s approaching his peak but would likely cost less than most of the other options on this list.
The on-loan keeper has been a revelation for Sheffield United this season and at just 22 years of age, there could be plenty more to come. Posting statistics similar to Nick Pope, Henderson managed 13 clean sheets, while saving 75% of all shots on target (only Bernd Leno and Hugo Lloris can boast a higher save percentage among the league’s regular starters).
Henderson could be interested in a move too, with no guarantees that he’ll be given a chance at parent club Manchester United, despite the struggles of David de Gea, who has looked nervy in spells throughout the season.
Often mentioned in discussions about the best goalkeepers in the world, the Atletico Madrid keeper won the Zamora Trophy for four years in a row (the award is given to the best La Liga goalkeeper and sadly has nothing to do with Bobby Zamora) before seeing his streak ended by former Chelsea man Thibaut Courtois this season.
Oblak is also the goalkeeper fastest to reach 100 clean sheets in La Liga and if it was only quality that was under consideration, Oblak would surely be at the top of Chelsea’s shopping list.
The sticking point is that Atletico are unlikely to want to sell and rumours suggest he’d command a fee in excess of €100 million, which Chelsea would likely only consider if they can recoup a substantial fee for Kepa.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
Floated in several news outlets last week as Chelsea’s ‘impossible dream’, the Barcelona keeper has been surprisingly coy about extending his contract with the Catalan giants, perhaps opening the door to a Chelsea bid.
Voted as the fan’s player of the year after a difficult season, Ter Stegen even managed to keep five consecutive clean sheets in the league, with four of those coming after the restart.
The Ajax keeper was subject to an £18 million bid from Bayer Leverkusen in recent days, but the offer was turned down by the Dutch side, who will be eager to see Chelsea enter the race to spark a bidding war.
With just two years left on his contract, Onana is expected to move this summer and there will be no shortage of suitors for the highly-rated stopper, after keeping 8 clean sheets in the Eredivisie this season.
All odds and markets are correct as of date of publication.