Sunday, May 29, 2022

23 Year Old Spanish Shot-Stopper Now On Chelsea’s Radar: Possible Replacement For Courtois?

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Diptanil Roy
Diptanil used to be a columnist of The 4th Official. Knows German and not afraid to use it on you.

Since the arrival of Petr Cech in the summer of 2004, the goalkeeping position at Chelsea has had the problem of plenty. Cech replaced the then Chelsea number 1 Carlo Cudicini with some impressive performances. The Czech Republic international kept hold of his starting spot for a decade before being replaced by Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois. The story was similar, only this time Cech was on the receiving end and the club legend moved on by joining North London side Arsenal.

Latest reports coming out of Stamford Bridge state that Chelsea are keen on a move to bring in Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. The young stopper is currently playing for Athletic Bilbao and his impressive performances this season has put him on Chelsea’s radar.

Chelsea’s interest in him has come at a time when the club is unsure about the future of Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian is yet to sign a contract extension and has done little to quash the rumours about him leaving. With Willy Caballero turning 36 last month, Arrizabalaga might just be brought in as a second choice keeper to Courtois for now and that will most likely guarantee him the domestic cup ties and a few inconsequential league or Champions League games, should there be any.

However, with Courtois’ situation not sorted yet, the club might just lose the Belgian to another European club which will greatly open the door for the Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper. He will be likely to get a few games in a row under his belt before a replacement comes in and if he is able to snap up his chance and impress the Chelsea management, he would potentially become the club’s new number 1.

Courtois has been reportedly on Real’s shopping list since Real Madrid president Florentino Perez missed out on Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea. If recent reports are to be believed, Atletico Madrid are not far behind either on chasing his signature. Courtois, who signed for Chelsea back in 2011, has had a very interesting history with Atletico Madrid.

Immediately after his signing in 2011, the keeper was sent out on loan to Atletico where he spent three years on loan. The stopper developed into a world-class keeper under Diego Simeone and won several accolades in the process. In 2014, he was recalled to the Chelsea set up and since his arrival he has been Chelsea’s first choice keeper, keeping the likes of Petr Cech and Asmir Begovic out of action.

If Courtois were to move, it would mean Chelsea stepping up their interest in the Athletic keeper. Should all possible transfers go through, Chelsea would have the money from the Courtois deal to sanction Arrizabalaga’s transfer to Stamford Bridge, a transfer they would be desperate to complete.

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