More than any other position in football, goalkeeper performances can be hard to judge — one mistake can mean the difference between greatness and embarrassment — but the one clear indicator that shows just how well Kepa Arrizabalaga has began his Chelsea career is just how rarely his transfer fee comes up. After all, it’s an eye-watering world record sum, and even for Chelsea, even in today’s market, paying €80m is not a common occurrence.
But after a few questions back in the summer, practically the only time it’s been mentioned is how often it hasn’t been mentioned. It does get brought up in this interview with Wilfredo Caballero, but the Chelsea backup goalkeeper doesn’t entertain it long either — it’s a “crazy market” after all.
Instead, he’s much more keen to talk about Kepa’s qualities, progress, and performances, all of which are looking right on point.
“First of all, we needed a goalkeeper who plays really well with his feet. He is doing really well with that; he has confidence and a good pass. Long and short.
“As well as that, he has very quick reactions, good hands and he is doing well. I thought he might need a few weeks and months because adaptation to the Premier League sometimes needs a little bit of time but from the first game, he is doing really well [...] I think his performances have been really good.”
-Wilfredo Caballero; source: Goal
Caballero spent the vast majority of his career in the top two divisions of Spanish football (Elche in the Segunda and Málaga in La Liga) as well, before switching to the Premier League in 2014 as the primary backup at Manchester City and now at Chelsea, a role he’s fulfilled and is fulfilling to near perfection. He doesn’t have a contract yet for next season, but if he wants to continue playing, I see no reason for Chelsea to not offer an extension and to have him continue to help develop young Arrizabalaga.