As he continues to watch on from the sidelines after being dropped, Kepa Arrizabalaga is reportedly ready to leave Chelsea this summer.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga fears his career is in limbo after being axed at the club. The 25-year old is worried that he won’t get a spot in the Spain national team for Euro 2020. As a result, the player wants to leave the club for first-team football.
Kepa remains the most expensive goalkeeper in world football following his £72 million switches from Athletic Bilbao in 2018. He thought they had a verbal agreement that he would be a first-choice goalie for years to come. However, after a string of below-par performances, manager Frank Lampard dropped him in favour of Argentine Willy Caballero.
The fed-up Spaniard feels betrayed as neither the club nor boss Lampard supported him during his first dip in form this season. And Kepa is likely to be on the bench again for Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth. That is in spite of the fact that his replacement Caballero conceded three goals against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Kepa’s form this season has been appalling
Last season, Kepa performed adequately. He kept 14 clean sheets, the joint-third best in the Premier League. The Spaniard finished the campaign with a 66.7 save percentage, good enough to earn him a ninth spot in the league. There was, of course, the unfortunate Carabao Cup final incident. He refused to be substituted for penalty specialist Willy Caballero. In the shootout that followed, Kepa made just one save, allowing Aguero’s spot-kick under his body as City went on to lift the trophy.
However, this campaign Kepa has been massively underwhelming. According to Opta, Chelsea have conceded from 16% of shots faced in the Premier League this season. Incredibly, no side have conceded a higher proportion in the competition during a single campaign since data was collected for the first time in 2003-04. Also, according to FBRef, the Blues stopper has saved just 53.6% of the shots he has faced.
Signed on a seven-year deal, Kepa is certainly at Chelsea for the long haul, which makes his recent dip in form all the more concerning.
Lampard on a relationship with Kepa
Reports in the British media suggested that Kepa would request to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, amid rumours of fall-out with Lampard. Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth, Lampard told a news conference:
“My relationship is fine, between player and manager. I have 20 or so players to keep happy and I can’t keep them all happy at the same time. All I expect is professionalism in training, which Kepa has given.
Every player is in control of their own destiny to a degree with that. And how they turn up every day and Kepa has been training well.
But Willy is also training well and has also been playing pretty well. He made some good saves agaisnt Bayern [Munich on Tuesday]. So, I have competition here and I will decide as we go. I am very strong on how you turn up every day is pivotal in how you are as a Chelsea player.”
As for reports claiming the 25-year old wanted out, Lampard added:
“I’ve read quite a bit of nonsense this week with people guessing.
Every time a player puts on a shirt, they are in control of their destiny, individually. We can’t always control collectively what a result will be.
All I’m focused on is what we do game by game to try to get the best finish possible. And then there are decisions for the club ongoing in the summer. We have to look at that but there’s no way I’m jumping into the future now, and as I said, a lot of the reports were wrong.”