The transfer record for a goalkeeper was held by Liverpool’s Cruyff-turn-expert, Alisson for about four weeks this summer. Then Chelsea set a new marker by buying out Kepa Arrizabalaga’s contract at Athletic Bilbao for a cool €80m. It was a bit of an emergency move by the club, only a few weeks, at most, in the making — thanks, Thibaut Courtoissss — with Kepa’s name pretty much coming out of nowhere.
Plenty of players with far more experience than the young goalkeeper have crumbled under less weighty transfer fees, but the 23-year-old remains adamant that it’s not something that affects him. He said similar things at the time of the transfer as well, and that situation has not changed in the las month.
“No, [it is not a burden to be the most expensive keeper in the world]. I focus on myself and I dedicate myself to play. It is such a price because the market is like that, too. Higher prices are being paid, and I see [the fee] as a consequence of the market.”
But while Kepa might claim he’s focusing only on his play, he knows full well that the price tag is not something that will be ignored, especially if he performs badly. So, in a way, he’s using that as motivation, intending to repay the club’s faith (both monetary and sporting) where it counts, on the pitch.
“I am happy with all the effort Chelsea made [for me] because it is not easy to pay such amounts, and I intend to give it back on the pitch.”
With the addition of Kepa, Chelsea’s Spanish core expanded to six players — five of whom are currently first-team regulars. That core has helped him settle, and will hopefully drive the Blues onwards to great victories.
“It was important that I had teammates in the team I knew before: [César] Azpilicueta, [Álvaro] Morata... With their help it is easier, because entering a dressing room in which you already know the people makes everything faster.”
“[Chelsea] is a great club, that in the last few years have won the Champions League, Europa League, the Premier League... It is a team with great players.”
“It was an important bet and I am happy for taking this step. I want to enjoy it.”
-Kepa Arrizabalaga; source: AS
So say we all.