Agencies

Chelsea agree world record fee of £71.6m for Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga: Reports

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Chelsea have agreed to pay a world record fee for Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao to replace their current goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Agencies: Chelsea have reportedly agreed to pay a world record fee for Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao to replace their current goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is expected to sign for Real Madrid this month. The Belgian keeper missed Chelsea’s training session for a second day in succession.

With the deal with Athletic Bilbao, Chelsea would overtake Liverpool’s record fee of £66.9m for Brazil No. 1 Alisson. Kepa will be undergoing medical on Wednesday so that he is ready to play for the Premier League side in their opening match against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said, “I saw him one year ago at Naples, and my first impression was he was a very good goalkeeper. Very young, but very, very good.”

During the mid-season window, Kepa had passed the medical for Real Madrid but the then-manager Zinedine Zidane told the board not to go ahead with the deal as it would disrupt the team’s rhythem in the middle of the campaign. The Champions League winners have now offered Croatia midfielder Kovacic for a season in exchange of Courtois. Chelsea, however, will not have an option of buying Kovacic next season as Julen Lopetegui’s side have kept him as an option for succeeding Golden ball winner Luka Modric.

Kepa had joined Athletic Bilbao, who finished 16th in the Spanish league, at the age of 10 and has made 30 La Liga appearances till now.

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