Lazio want to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga. Kepa probably wants to sign for Lazio. Lazio definitely can’t cover Kepa’s full wages.
That has been the entire story of this saga since the summer, ever since Maurizio Sarri took over the helm at the Italian side, with the former Chelsea manager continuing to push for Arrizabalaga’s arrival at the Stadio Olimpico just like he did at Stamford Bridge.
This week’s iteration of the rumor was started by Calciomercato, which has then been picked by the likes of Diario AS, Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness) as well as Alfredo “Hot days” Pedulla. It’s well-evident at this point that Kepa is unhappy with his current role at Chelsea, as he sits as deputy to Edouard Mendy, and there’s little doubt that the Spaniard would seek a move away to Lazio if such a scenario were feasible.
The obvious obstacle continues to be the finances involved in making this deal happen, even if it is only a loan, with the 27-year-old’s €7m annual salary well-outside the Serie A side’s salary structure, with only Ciro Immobile earning close to that figure.
Lazio would have a slightly better chance of signing Kepa on loan in the summer, as opposed to in January, since both Thomas Strakosha and Pepe Reina will be out of contracts, but it would still require Chelsea to cover part of his wages. Much could depend on the proportion of his wages that Lazio ask us to cover, since we’ll also need to sign a backup goalkeeper to replace Kepa, and it would make little financial sense for us if the overall cost of that entire operation turns out to be higher than it is now.
In the meantime, Kepa is expected to see the season out at Chelsea, with Mendy’s participation in the AFCON set to give him some much-needed playing time.