In year three of our Kepa, hallowed be thy name, our once and future legendary goalkeeper finds himself stuck at the bottom of the proverbial ladder, staring up at his elders Willy Caballero and, way up in the distance, shrouded in the clouds, Édouard Mendy. That wasn’t meant to be a joke or commentary on Kepa’s height, but since it can be read that way, I’m not going to discourage it.
Anyway. Tiny he may be, but Kepa’s got big ambitions still, and he’s not simply going to give up. The last 12-18 months have not been good for him by any means, and he may never live up to this world-record price tag, but many, including Real Madrid, were once willing to spend €20m on him, which isn’t all that different from what Chelsea have just spent on the new save-iour.
Perhaps unburdened from said fee and the constant scrutiny, Kepa can rediscover his abilities.
“I feel good, strong, confident. It may not be the desired or dreamed situation, but sometimes we have to experience situations like this. I have the confidence to work and turn it around.
“I do not have the feeling of being a substitute. We have three goalkeepers, and the level is very high. It is the coach who chooses the eleven, and we have to try to do our best and if we do not play, add as much as possible.”
“I’m in a great club, in a great national team. I feel lucky to belong to these two teams.”
“Obviously all players want to play. I do not consider myself beyond the day to day. In football, it is difficult to look at the medium-long term. Everything can change. Now the closest thing is the national team, and my focus is put in these three games.”
Kepa could just as easily sit around for the next seven years and collect his paycheck. As evidenced by this summer’s transfer market, certainly no other team’s going to give him that sort of income. But he’s reacted with good attitude to both of his previous benchings by Lampard, and he’s at least saying all the right things this time as well. Mendy may be the starter by default at the moment, but it’s a long season ahead and, presumably, a long Chelsea career still for Kepa. Stranger things have happened!