Chelsea have sealed the signing of Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from the La Liga club Athletic Bilbao. The deal between the two sides sees the west London club shell out a staggering £71m transfer fee, the highest amount paid by any club to sign a goalkeeper.
Liverpool had paid £66.8m for the Brazilian shot-stopper but that record now has been surpassed by the Blues, who have brought in the 23-year-old custodian to replace Thibaut Courtois, who is set to join Real Madrid. The Belgian has been one of the best goalkeepers in the business over the last few years for Chelsea and his national team and Arrizabalaga surely has some big shoes to fill.
However, the player has never plied his trade outside the La Liga, which might see him struggle initially between the sticks for his new team. He has made 53 appearances for Athletic during the last two seasons and has secured a place in the Spanish national team behind the current number 1 and Manchester United shot-stopper David De Gea.
The 23-year-old has penned down a seven-year deal with the former Premier League champions. He is also the club record signing so far as he beats the £60m transfer fee paid by Chelsea when they signed Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid last summer.
Regarding the transfer, the Spaniard said, “So many things attracted me to the club – all the titles the club has won, the other players, the city, the English Premier League.”
He added, “It’s an accumulation of things, and I am very glad Chelsea has decided to trust me and to take me in as well.”
The Blues faithful will be hoping that the young custodian will live up to the expectation and completely justify his price tag.