Why Chelsea should not let go of Kepa Arrizabalaga
According to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Daily Mail), Valencia are considering a loan move for Chelsea out-of-favour goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
La Liga side Valencia consider Spaniard Kepa as an ideal replacement for their No.1 shot-stopper Jasper Cillessen, who has had a difficult maiden campaign at the Mestalla. Cillessen had just recently moved to Valencia last summer from Barcelona, in order to get more game time after being left on the sidelines at Camp Nou since signing for them in 2016.
However, it has not been the best of starts for the Dutch goalkeeper, who conceded 19 goals from 16 league outings and also suffered a few injuries in the process. Meanwhile, Valencia-based media outlet Plaza Deportiva have reported that the 31-year-old Cillessen is looking for a return to his former club Ajax after the torrid spell.
That said, Valencia are have found Chelsea’s Kepa as a suitable replacement for their No.1 custodian, with back-up man Jaume Doménech being the only other keeper in the side.
Kepa the only notable face in between the sticks for Chelsea
Kepa, on the other hand, has fallen out of favour under Frank Lampard after making some costly errors in goal this season. This had even led to Lampard deploying second-man and veteran goalkeeper Willy Caballero in matches against Leicester, Manchester United, Tottenham and Bayern Munich prior to the coronavirus shutdown.
The 25-year-old Kepa had just joined Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2018, replacing Belgian Thibaut Courtois. In the process, Kepa became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper following a £71million move from Athletic Bilbao.
The Spaniard was impressive in his first spell at Chelsea bagging 14 clean sheets from 36 league games, establishing himself as the side’s undisputed No.1. Kepa became the third-best goalkeeper in the Premier League in his maiden season in England, speaking volumes about his talent.
However, he suffered a major dip in form this season, conceding 32 goals from 25 league games, managing just six clean sheets.
However, Chelsea would be making a grave error if they decide to send Kepa on loan or sell him permanently. First of all, the Blues just have Caballero as a back-up keeper. They do not have any other prominent keepers in their midst and it might prove costly to sign a replacement too.
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Kepa remains Chelsea’s only noticeable face in goal as of now. Sending him elsewhere just because of one poor season does not seem like a wise decision. Rather, they should keep some more faith in him and offer more chances to prove his worth. Hence, they should retain their No.1 custodian, who has already proved himself in the past.