Why Chelsea have dodged a bullet by not signing Alphonse Areola
Chelsea went through a lot changes in the summer of 2018. First, Maurizio Sarri replaced Antonio Conte as the club’s new manager and then, midfield duo Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic arrived shortly. But the club’s biggest summer signing was saved till the end.
The young Kepa Arrizabalaga sealed a move to Chelsea after the London club shelled out a staggering £71m to acquire his services from Athletic Bilbao.
Areola, 25, is a French keeper who plays for the defending Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. He started 34 games in the top-flight last season and kept 17 clean sheets. He made 78 saves in the league and 29 further in the Champions League, which included three penalty stops. In a recent UEFA Nations League match against Germany, the shot-stopper was impressive as he made seven saves to shut out Die Mannschaft.
As quoted by The Sun, Lollichon admitted that he rates Areola higher than Hugo Lloris and considers him the best French goalkeeper around. But the truth is, despite being a good shot-stopper, Areola has errors in his game.
His ability to deal with crosses and long balls is questionable and opponents have often exploited this vulnerability time and time again. He has made four huge errors in the past two seasons that have directly lead to goals. Hence, it is understandable as to why PSG purchased the legendary Gianluigi Buffon in the summer, following the Italian’s Juventus exit.
Chelsea have bought Arrizabalaga for a world-record fee and the Spaniard has looked confident in his first four games. He is also two years junior to Areola and has the potential to become one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League.
His distribution was a bit shaky in the first two games but he has improved since then. He is a young goalkeeper who has a lot on his plate right now and will need time to adapt to a new country, a new culture and a new style of football in England.
Arrizabalaga might make a few mistakes in the initial stages but if he takes inspiration from his fellow Spaniard David De Gea, he can reach great heights. He just needs the support of the fans and the manager and needs to work hard and believe in himself.