Record breaker Kepa wants to go down in history at Chelsea


Kepa Arrizabalaga is targeting sustained success with Chelsea after moving to Stamford Bridge for a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.

The 23-year-old on Wednesday joined from Athletic Bilbao for £72.1million, after Chelsea met his 80m euros buyout clause. Kepa could make his Chelsea debut in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Huddersfield.

The recruitment of the Spain international on a seven-year contract allowed Thibaut Courtois to depart for Real Madrid for 35m euros (£31.5m), with Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic moving in the opposite direction on a season-long loan.

Kepa told Chelsea’s official app, The 5th Stand, on Thursday: “All clubs need to fight to win titles and what all players want is to win. So what I would like is to win more titles for the club.

“This is what I aspire to do. I would like to be remembered at this club when I leave years down the line as a goalkeeper that has helped the club win a lot of titles and gone down in history in that way.”

Courtois won two Premier League titles in four seasons as Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper but had a year remaining on his contract and had expressed a desire to return to Spain.

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He had spent three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea before displacing Petr Cech as the Blues’ number one.

Kepa Arrizabalaga spoke to Alvaro Morata, pictured left, and Cesar Azpilicueta, right, about life at Chelsea (Nick Potts/PA Images)

Now Kepa is Courtois’ successor, after speaking to compatriots Cesar Azpilicueta, Alvaro Morata and Pedro about life at Stamford Bridge.

He said: “I had excellent references from them about the club, knowing them and being able to talk to them has been a great support for me over the last few days.

“And then of course there are many great players here, like N’Golo Kante, (Eden) Hazard, (Olivier) Giroud. It’s a squad full of fantastic players.

“We have a very exciting season ahead of us, so let’s go for it.”

Eden Hazard appears set to stay at Chelsea – for now (Adam Davy/PA Images)

Chelsea finished fifth in the Premier League last season in defence of the title they won in 2016-17, missing out on Champions League qualification.

They won the FA Cup in Antonio Conte’s final match as head coach before the Italian was belatedly sacked in July, with Maurizio Sarri appointed in his place.

Hazard’s future has been the subject of debate, with the Belgium playmaker stalling on an offer to extend his contract, which presently expires in June 2020.

The Blues appear to have held on to Hazard, for now.

Kovacic’s capture was completed on Thursday morning.

The 24-year-old former Dinamo Zagreb and Inter Milan midfielder was described as “a perfect fit” by Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.

She added on Chelsea’s official website: “His style is well suited to how Maurizio wants to play and we are sure he will prove to be a valuable asset for the club.”

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Kovacic said: “I am really happy and excited to be here at Chelsea. It is an amazing feeling. I will try to do my best for this club.

“It is a new league for me, the beginning is always tough but I am sure the coach and my new team-mates will help me and I am looking forward to a great season.”

There could be moves, on loan and permanently, for a number of Chelsea squad players on Thursday’s final day of the summer transfer window, although any moves into continental Europe can be completed before the end of the month.




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